By Thom Geier
Updated September 01, 2006 at 04:00 AM EDT

PI Bernie Gunther, hero of Kerr’s stunning Third Reich-era Berlin Noir trilogy, is back. In 1949 Munich, he takes a simple case — to prove that a woman’s war-criminal husband is dead so she can remarry — that proves to be anything but.

Bodily Trauma
Heavies chop off one of Gunther’s fingers.

Lowdown
Kerr’s expertly plotted tale glistens with period detail and punchily cynical asides (one Nazi official ”smelled faintly of cologne and hypocrisy”).

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