Rediscover: Philip Kerr

Philip Kerr, the British author best known for his Bernie Gunther historical mystery series, died last week at age 62. Born in Edinburgh, Kerr worked as a copywriter before turning to fiction writing in 1989. His first novel, March Violets, introduced Bernie Gunther, a 38-year-old private detective in mid-1930s Germany. Kerr's British publisher, Quercus, described Gunther as a "cynical, erudite, wise-cracking, fiendishly clever man, lover of women, hater of Nazis and yet obliged to work for them to survive." March Violets (1989), The Pale Criminal (1990) and A German Requiem (1991) constitute the Berlin Noir trilogy, which follows Gunther through postwar Germany. They remain Kerr's bestselling titles, and were republished in one volume by Penguin Books in 1993.

Kerr was also the author of a YA fantasy series called Children of the Lamp and a thriller trilogy featuring Premier League soccer coach Scott Manson. His stand-alone novels include the science-fiction thrillers A Philosophical Investigation (1992) and Gridiron (1995; published as The Grid in the U.S.). Kerr returned to the Bernie Gunther series in 2006 with The One from the Other, followed by eight more entries between 2008 and 2017. On April 3, Marian Wood Books/Putnam will publish Greeks Bearing Gifts ($27, 9780399177064). Prior to his death, Kerr completed Metropolis, the 14th and final Gunther mystery, which will be published in 2019. --Tobias Mutter

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