‘The Lady from Zagreb’ is Philip Kerr’s 10th book featuring Bernie Gunther. While I haven’t read all of the books in the series, I much prefer these to Philip Kerr’s standalone books. Bernie Gunther is an ex Berlin cop who is now reluctantly part of the SS. He somehow manages to survive the war despite his cynical and vocal anti-Nazism.
This book begins in 1956 with Gunther enjoying a film featuring Dalia Dresner – the German Garbo, then takes us back to when Gunther knew her in 1942.
Dalia was concerned about her missing father and felt unable to appear in Goebbels’ next film until he was found. So Goebbels, interested in more than Dalia’s acting abilities, sets Gunther to finding Dalia’s father. His search takes him to Yugoslavia where the fighting between the Croats and Serbs is more brutal and inhuman than anything he has ever seen before (and he has seen some real horrors).
Gunther then travels to Switzerland to give Dalia news and get her back to Germany. But before he can travel to a neutral country, he needs to marry to ensure his return. He does this despite (or maybe because of) having fallen in love with Dalia.
Along the way he learns of plots by the Germans to invade Switzerland and plots by the Swiss to keep the Germans out. Eventually he finds that Dalia is not all that she appears to be.
There were a number of subplots within this novel that for me just didn’t seem to fit together. But, the main plot was excellent and pulled me through the book.
Bernie Gunther was as entertaining as ever with his cynicism and disrespect for authority. His honesty to the men in charge of the regime he hates should result in his death, but he never quite goes that far.
The Bernie Gunther books are Philip Kerr’s best work. I still have a few past books to catch up with and Kerr has already announced an 11th book in the series – ‘The Other Side of Silence’ due in 2016.
Book Published 2015