Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Philip Kerr

Scottish novelist Philip Kerr is the author of the acclaimed Bernie Gunther crime series and other novels. Kerr's latest novel, Field Gray, finds Gunther being captured off Cuba in the mid-1950s and coerced by French Intelligence to help nab a war criminal.

From Kerr's interview with crime fiction maven J. Kingston Pierce at Kirkus Reviews:

What’s the source of your interest in Berlin and World War II? And how well acquainted have you become with Berlin?

Over the years I’ve become very well-acquainted with Berlin, which is perhaps the most protean and symbolic of all 20th-century cities. This partly accounts for my interest. In the space of just 45 years there are parts of Berlin that went from being militantly Prussian, to being wildly decadent and liberal, to being Nazi, to being hard-line communist.

I first went there in the early 1980s when it was very different. Berlin is like that. Just as you get to know it, the place changes. Prior to that my interest was as a jurist—I did a postgraduate degree in German legal philosophy, which was really just an excuse to read German philosophy proper. Poor fool that I am, I once considered an academic legal career. But novels won out. And let’s face it, if you’re going to pick a subject you can’t do better. The Nazi Revolution is, in my opinion, the most important historical event since the Protestant Reformation, which also started in Germany. By the way, Hitler and Luther have much in common; not just their violent anti-Semitism but a lot of other things too. Discuss.

Your books appear to be extremely well-researched. Why is it so important to get the details right?

I don’t know that it’s so important, but...[read on]
--Marshal Zeringue