Philip Kerr

Those who see Kerr as just a smooth crafts-man who can turn out Hollywood-friendly bestsellers such as Gridiron should read his crime-based novels, the finest being the Berlin Noir trilogy (March Violetsand The Pale Criminal). This sequence features ex-policeman Bernie Gunther surviving the Nazi sub-culture of Thirties Berlin.

Gunther is marvellously vulnerable and sympathetic. Kerr is also spot-on in his synthesis of brutal plotting and sophisticated political asides. Sophistication is also the order of the day in A Philosophical Investigation (1997), which spins Wittgenstein into a unique novel of detection.

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