Lovers of crime noir are familiar with the bent or slightly crooked copper, the underworld of drugs, prostitution and money, murder and the fringe dwellers that inhabit both the world of the good, the bad and downright evil.
Volker Kutcher has wrapped a familiar storyline in the far from familiar background of Berlin during the 1920’s, a time known as the “Roaring Twenties’ and for good reason, to create a work of what can be easily classed as historic crime noir fiction.
The protagonist Gereon Rath is a man whose moral compass tends to swing in favour of his wants and needs first and foremost. Not really bent, but not really straight he has a few far from original ideas about the proceeds of crime and who should be the recipients of such largess.
A man has already died at his hand during a police raid in Cologne. He has been sent to a new posting in Berlin where he discovers the rest of the Detectives treat him with considerable suspicion as they are aware his father, a man high up in the Police force has pulled a number of strings to get him this posting.
When the body of a man is retrieved from a wrecked car in the Landwehr Canal, it is obvious he has been tortured, but by who and why are the questions being asked. Rath decides to work on this case secretively , a decision which takes him into the dark world of Weimar Germany and directly into the complex world of politics at the time, revolving around Russian influence in the underground, German Democratic politics and the beginning of the rise of Nazism.
Add a shipment of $18m in gold bullion, a temptation he cannot resist, neither can many other forces, a love interest in student lawyer and stenographer with the Department, a journalist who agrees to working with Rath so he can break the full story, a cocaine habit, Raths’, as well as all the colourful characters, that did and do still, populate the underworld of history and you have a blockbuster of a read.
Made into a two series season by Netfix Australia it is a story that encapsulates the world of sordid dealings that gave that particular time in history an infamy that still holds true today; a time when post World War 1, Politics were anything but stable in Europe, Weimar Germany was the unofficial designation for the German State, and anything went as it so often did.
|Publisher||Allen and Unwin|
|Distributor||Allen and Unwin|