Sunday, 17 June 2018

Greeks Bearing Gifts

Finished June 5
Greeks Bearing Gifts by Philip Kerr

This is part of the series featuring Bernie Gunther, but the first one that I have read.
This story takes place in 1957, and begins in Munich, where Bernie has taken on a new identity as Christof Ganz, and is working as mortuary attendant in a hospital. When the body of a man killed due to an explosion of a war period bomb needs to be identified by one of the men injured in the same incident, Ganz must show the body to the man and one of the policemen in attendance recognizes him. As he gets drawn into a situation that he knows will create problems for him, he trusts his instincts and goes for help to a man he knows, who also has involvement with the blackmailer.
As a result Ganz gets recommended for a job as an insurance adjustor. His detective skills make the job a good fit for him, and he gets brought in to cover for another colleague in the insurance on a boat that was sunk in Greece.
As he meets with the man at the Athens office of the insurance company, and gets to know him, he also lets his instincts lead him to follow the man claiming the loss. The subsequent death of the man raises other issues, and he ends up working with a Greek police detective to try to find the killer behind this and other deaths.
The case takes him to local lawyers, accused war criminals, museum curators, a beautiful young woman, and an arm of the Israeli state.
This is a complex case, with a reach back into the war years, with Gunther/Ganz wanting to do the right thing to atone for his country's actions in the war, but also save his own skin.
I quite enjoyed it.

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