‘A Quiet Flame’ is the 5th Bernie Gunther novel by Philip Kerr.
At the end of the previous novel ‘The One From the Other’ Gunther was incorrectly accused of being a war criminal, so needed to escape Europe. It is now 1950 and he has arrived in Argentina with the name Carlos Hausner. Despite the alias, Colonel Montalban, the head of the secret police in Argentina, quickly finds out that the famous Berlin detective Bernie Gunther is now in the country.
Montalban wants Gunther to investigate the murder of a young woman and to find another young woman who has gone missing. The mutilation of the murdered woman is identical to that in a case that Gunther was investigating in 1932 before the Nazis cane to power. This was a case that Gunther never solved. Now that many of the worst of Germany’s Nazis are living in Argentina, it is likely that Gunther can discover the murderer among Argentina’s German population.
Montalban is not the only one who has heard of Gunther. He is also approached by the beautiful Anna Yagubsky, a Russian Jew, who is searching for her missing aunt and uncle.
Gunther’s investigations involve asking questions that it is not safe to ask in Peron’s Argentina and going to places that it is not really safe to go. And it seems that Montalban, along with Eva Peron have an ulterior motive for the investigation that they have asked Gunther to carry out.
This was an exciting and sometimes horrible thriller. There was plenty of real history covered and lot of name dropping of famous Nazis, some who definitely made it to Argentina and some who probably did. Juan and Eva Peron along with some of their associates and some of the things they did, also featured in the story.
We got to see the good and the bad of Bernie Gunther, but he is still a hero and still trying to do the right thing – most of the time.
I’m looking forward to reading the next novel in the series – ‘If the Dead Rise Not’.
Book Published 2008