Philip Kerr was born in Edinburgh in 1956. He studied law at Birmingham University and qualified as a barrister. After a brief period as an advertising copywriter, he left to pursue a career as a writer. His first novel was MARCH VIOLETS, set in pre-war Berlin and featuring private eye Bernie Gunther. THE PALE CRIMINAL and A GERMAN REQUIEM followed, also featuring Bernie and making up the original BERLIN NOIR trilogy. Philip has most recently returned to the series with the tweflth book, PRUSSIAN BLUE, published in 2017 and the next installment, GREEKS BEARING GIFTS was published in April 2018. The final installment of the Bernie Gunther series, METROPOLIS, was published posthumously in April 2019.
He has edited two anthologies, THE PENGUIN BOOK OF LIES and THE PENGUIN BOOK OF FIGHTS, FEUDS AND HEARTFELT HATREDS. Philip has published ten other novels: A PHILOSOPHICAL INVESTIGATION; DEAD MEAT; GRIDIRON; ESAU; A FIVE YEAR PLAN; THE SECOND ANGEL; THE SHOT; LEVERAGE; DARK MATTER and HITLER'S PEACE.
P B Kerr is the pseudonym under which he published his series of children's fantasy stories, collectively entitled THE CHILDREN OF THE LAMP, which enjoyed worldwide success and was translated into 26 languages. His most recent children's novel was THE WINTER HORSES (Walker, 2014).
He has also written a trilogy (JANUARY WINDOW, HAND OF GOD, FALSE NINE), published by Head of Zeus, about Scott Manson, a football team coach for London City FC who finds the game becoming a matter of life and death..
DEAD MEAT was made into the BBC television series GRUSHKO and nearly all of his novels have been sold outright to Hollywood studios. His works have been translated into 36 languages. In 2009, he won the British Crime Writers' Association Ellis Peters Historical Fiction Award and Spain's RBA International Prize for Crime Writing for his Bernie Gunther series.
Philip died in March 2018, days before the publication of his 13th Bernie Gunther thriller, GREEKS BEARING GIFTS. He lived in London and is survived by his novelist and journalist wife Jane Thynne and their three children.
Berlin, 1928, the dying days of the Weimar Republic shortly before Hitler and the Nazis came to power. It was a period of decadence and excess as Berliners - after the terrible slaughter of WWI and the hardships that followed - are enjoying their own version of Babylon. Bernie is a young detective working in Vice when he gets a summons from Bernard Weiss, Chief of Berlin's Criminal Police. He invites Bernie to join KIA - Criminal Inspection A - the supervisory body for all homicide investigation in Kripo. Bernie's first task is to investigate the Silesian Station killings - four prostitutes murdered in as many weeks. All of them have been hit over the head with a hammer and then scalped with a sharp knife.
Bernie hardly has time to acquaint himself with the case files before another prostitute is murdered. Until now, no one has shown much interest in these victims - there are plenty in Berlin who'd like the streets washed clean of such degenerates. But this time the girl's father runs Berlin's foremost criminal ring, and he's prepared to go to extreme lengths to find his daughter's killer.
Then a second series of murders begins - of crippled wartime veterans who beg in the city's streets. It seems that someone is determined to clean up Berlin of anyone less than perfect. The voice of Nazism is becoming a roar that threatens to drown out all others. But not Bernie Gunther's ...
GREEKS BEARING GIFTS
1957, Munich. Bernie Gunther's latest move in a string of varied careers sees him working for an insurance company. It makes a kind of sense: both cops and insurance companies have a vested interest in figuring out when people are lying to them, and Bernie has a lifetime of experience to call on.
When his cover is blown, former Berlin bull and unwilling SS officer Bernie Gunther must re-enter a cat-and-mouse game that continues to shadow his life a decade after Germany’s defeat in World War 2…
Head of Zeus
Just because football is a game, it doesn't mean you have to play fair.
Football manager Scott Manson needs a new job, but finding one in the star-studded world of international football isn't easy. A new position in Shanghai turns out to be part of an elaborate sting operation - and in Barcelona, he's not hired as a football manager, but as a detective. Barca's star player is missing, and Scott has a month to track him down.
As Scott follows the trail from Paris to Antigua, he encounters corrupt men, wicked women, and the rotten heart of the beautiful game...
HAND OF GOD
Head of Zeus
The beautiful game just got ugly.
London City is set to play Olympiacos in Athens. With Greek fans rioting in the street, football manager Scott Manson is keeping his team on a tight leash: no drinking, no nightlife and no women. After the game, they fly home for a crucial match at Silvertown Docks.
But Scott didn't plan for death on the pitch. City's star striker collapses mid-match, and now the Greek authorities are mounting a murder investigation. Scott Manson must find the truth - and fast - to get his boys home in time.
Head of Zeus
Everyone knows football is a matter of life and death.
But this time, it's murder.
Scot Manson: team coach for London City FC and all-round fixer for the lads. Players love him, bosses trust him.
But now the team's manager has been found dead at their home stadium.
Even Scott can't smooth over murder... but can he catch the killer before he strikes again?
If you want to write a murder mystery, you have to do some research...
In a luxury flat in Monaco, John Houston's supermodel wife lies in bed, a bullet in her skull.
Houston is the world's most successful novelist, the playboy head of a literary empire that produces far more books than he could ever actually write. Now the man who has invented hundreds of best-selling killings is wanted for a real murder and on the run from the police, his life transformed into something out of one of his books.
And in London, the ghostwriter who is really behind those books has some questions for him too..
Quercus (UK) Putnam (US)
A chilling modern horror story in which the source of the horror is totally unexpected - and utterly terrifying.
Special Agent Gil Martins investigates domestic terrorism for the Houston FBI. Once a religious man, now his job makes him question the existence of a God who could allow the violence he sees every day.
Gil is asked to investigate a series of unexplained deaths of victims known for their liberal views.
When a woman tells Gil that these men have been killed by prayer, he questions her sanity. Yet the evidence mounts that there might be something in what she says, even more so when Gil finds that his own life is on the line.
A MAN WITHOUT BREATH
Quercus (UK); Penguin (US)
t is winter, 1943. Bernie Gunther has left the Criminal Police and is working for the German War Crimes Bureau based in Berlin. Reports have been circulating of a mass grave hidden in a wood near Smolensk. The grave's whereabouts are uncertain until, deep in the Katyn Forest, a wolf digs up some human remains. Rumour has it that the grave is full of Polish officers murdered by the Russians - a war crime that is perfect propaganda for Germany. But it needs a detective of subtle skill to investigate this horrific discovery. Cue Bernie Gunther...
Quercus (UK); Putnam (US)
September 1941: Bernie Gunther returns from the horrors of the Eastern Front to find his home city of Berlin changed, and changed for the worse. The blackout, rationing, the RAF, the S-Bahn murderer and Czech terrorists are all conspiring to make life very unpleasant. Now back at his old desk on Homicide in Kripo HQ, Alexanderplatz, Bernie starts to investigate the death of a Dutch railway worker, while starting something - of an entirely different nature - with a local good-time girl.
But he is obliged to drop everything when his old boss, Reinhard Heydrich of the SD, the new Reichsprotector of Bohemia and Moravia, orders him to Prague to spend a weekend at his country house. It's an invitation Bernie feels he would gladly have been spared, especially when he meets his fellow guests - all of them senior loathsome figures in the SS and SD.
The weekend turns sour almost immediately, when a body is found in a room that was locked from the inside. The spotlight falls on Bernie to show off his investigative skills and solve this seemingly impossible mystery. And if he fails to do so, he knows what is at stake - not only his reputation, but also that of Heydrich, a man who does not like to lose face.
So begins the most diplomatically sensitive case of Bernie Gunther's police career.
‘A man doesn’t work for his enemies unless he has little choice in the matter.’
So says Bernie Gunther. It is 1954 and Bernie is in Cuba. Tiring of his increasingly dangerous work spying on Meyer Lansky, Bernie acquires a boat and a beautiful companion and quits the island. But the US Navy has other ideas, and soon he finds himself in a place with which he is all too familiar – a prison cell. After exhaustive questioning, he is flown back to Berlin and yet another prison cell with a proposition: work for French intelligence or hang for murder.
The job is simple: he is to meet and greet POWs returning to Germany and to look out for one in particular, a French war criminal and member of the French SS who has been posing as a German Wehrmacht officer. The French are anxious to catch up with this man and deal with him in their own ruthless way. But Bernie's past as a German POW in Russia is about to catch up with him – in a way he could never have foreseen.
Bernie Gunther’s seventh outing delivers more of the fast-paced and quick-witted action that we have come to expect from Philip Kerr. Set in Cuba, a Soviet POW camp, Paris and Berlin, and ranging over a period of twenty years from the Thirties to the Fifties, FIELD GREY is an outstanding thriller by a writer at the top of his game.
A QUIET FLAME
Quercus (UK); Putnam (US)
On the run from Europe to escape framed charges of war crimes, Bernie Gunther arrives in Buenos Aires in 1950 to join the community of Nazi monsters in search of new identities. Under his new name of Dr Carlos Hausner he is summoned to meet President Peron, who is desperate to find a cure for his wife Eva’s cancer. But he is recognised by Peron’s police chief, Colonel Montalban, as an old Berlin cop celebrated for investigating a series of ritualistic ‘lust’ murders in 1932.
The investigation becomes extremely dangerous when Bernie offers help to the beautiful Anna Yagubsky, whose uncle and aunt disappeared in Argentina during the war, possibly as part of an extremely secret Jewish extermination programme. Cross-cutting between Berlin in the early 1930s and post-war Argentina, Kerr’s novel brilliantly explores the nightmarish collusion between the old Nazis and the Peronist regime, and also crowns iconoclastic, hard-boiled, cynical-romantic, wise-cracking Bernie as one of the all-time great fictional private eyes. The fourth Gunther novel, THE ONE FROM THE OTHER, was acclaimed by reviewers on both sides of the Atlantic. Number five is even better.
IF THE DEAD RISE NOT
Quercus (UK); Penguin (US)
erlin, 1934. The Nazis have been in power for just eighteen months, but already Germany has seen some unpleasant changes. As the city prepares to host the 1936 Olympics, Jews are being expelled from all German sporting organisations. Forced to resign as a homicide detective with Berlin's Criminal Police, Bernie is now house detective at the famous Adlon Hotel. The discovery of two bodies - a businessman and a Jewish boxer - involves Bernie in the lives of two hotel guests. One is a beautiful left-wing journalist intent on persuading America to boycott the Berlin Olympiad; the other is a German-Jewish gangster who plans to use the Olympics to enrich himself and the Chicago mob. As events unfold, Bernie uncovers a vast labour and construction racket designed to take advantage of the huge sums the Nazis are prepared to spend to showcase the new Germany to the world. It is a plot that finds its conclusion twenty years later in pre-revolutionary Cuba, the country to which Bernie flees from Argentina at the end of A QUIET FLAME.
THE ONE FROM THE OTHER
Quercus (UK); Putnam (US)
It’s 1949, and Bernie Gunther leads a quiet life in postwar Munich, the SS tattoo burned from his arm, the detective business a little slow. So when he’s offered ‘more than the rent and then some’ to track down a dead concentration-camp commander, he immediately agrees – and is rewarded with a severe beating. Recuperating in the country, Bernie meets the friendly, wheelchair-bound Eric Gruen, and before long Bernie is happy to do Gruen a simple favour which just happens to involve a change of identity.
The first Bernie Gunther novel since the acclaimed BERLIN NOIR trilogy, THE ONE FROM THE OTHER brings back the hardboiled ex-policeman and the tangled aftermath of Nazism in a thriller as disturbing as its predecessors.
Willard Mayer: philosopher, tough nut, and spy; once a communist, occasionally a womaniser, and now a friend of President Franklin D Roosevelt. In the autumn of 1943, Willard finds himself at a new level of American intelligence, entrusted by the President with investigating a horrific massacre by the Russians. He quickly discovers that his mission is greater than it seems; he is involved in planning a top secret meeting which, if it happens, could be the most historic gathering of world leaders in his time. Moving between the murky world of the German secret services and Willard’s journey towards the Middle East, Philip Kerr’s brilliantly conceived novel combines the dark comedy of the noir thriller with the brutal facts of the Second World War. Hard-boiled and harrowing by turns, and spiced with sardonic humour, the novel takes us to the heart of Europe’s tangled political web and Willard’s own theories of truth – to a point where he himself can affect the course of history.
London, 1696. The great scientist Isaac Newton has abandoned Cambridge to become Controller of the Royal Mint in the Tower of London. There he confronts a mystery much darker and more challenging than that of the principles of gravity. A series of naturalistic murders seems just a cover-up for a massive counterfeiting operation. It isn’t just the nation’s currency that is threatened but its religion, its government and its sovereignty. Best-selling thriller writer Kerr’s gripping period mystery story introduces an intellectual detective possibly more brilliant than Sherlock Holmes.
Orion (UK); S&S (US)
Tom is an assassin, the best in the business. When an assignment from the Mafia to murder Castro conincides with the brutal death of his wife, Tom disappears. As events build it becomes apparent that Tom has a new target in mind - John Kennedy. With a tough New York policeman on his trail, the gap between Tom and the Mafia appears to be closing - but will he be tracked down before it's too late?