Reviews of March Violets (1989)
Review by SlowRain (2006-01-14)
This was the first book that I read by Philip Kerr. It is the first in a series of 3 about a Berlin private investigator in Germany around WW2.
The story centers on the investigation into the murder of a wealthy man's daughter and the theft of a diamond necklace. This book is very noir-ish with a very cynical protagonist, as I'm sure most detective novels are. I found this to be a very enjoyable read.
It is interesting to read books about this time period because I'm always learning things about the events and people surrounding WW2. Some characters from history are actually represented in the novel, as well as some of the unfair treatment of the Jewish people prior to the actual Holocaust. I've read a few books and seen a few movies about the time period, but I still learned some new things in this book.
The plot is complex with enough twists to keep the reader entertained and hopefully, like me, uncertain of which direction the ending would take. I felt the cynical nature of the investigator added a witty element that added to my enjoyment of this book.
There were only two things I didn't enjoy about the book, one of those was cleared up with the second book (The Pale Criminal). 1. There was one item left unresolved after the main climax to the story. The author had to find one last thing. While the location he went to was not an easy place to go, his ability to find this last item was all too convenient. 2. As with all books dealing with this time period, it's easy in hindsight for an author to create a character that would be sympathetic to the Jewish people and defiant of the Nazis. This was cleared up in the second book with a better understanding of the investigator's relationship with the Nazis.
I'd recommend this book for people who want a complex plot, sarcasm & cynicism, enjoyable writing, but not a big time investment.