cover image The Other Side of Silence: A Bernie Gunther Novel

The Other Side of Silence: A Bernie Gunther Novel

Philip Kerr. Putnam/Wood, $27 (416p) ISBN 978-0-399-17704-0

Set in 1956 on the French Riviera, Kerr’s assured 11th Bernie Gunther novel (after 2015’s The Lady from Zagreb) opens on a dark note, with Bernie’s confessing to a failed suicide attempt after his wife abandoned him. Bored by his current job as a hotel concierge, Bernie is brought back into action by bestselling writer and former spy Somerset Maugham, who lives in a nearby villa. Maugham, who’s gay at a time when that was still a criminal offense in Britain, needs Bernie’s help in dealing with a blackmailer who’s threatening to publish a compromising photograph. Meanwhile, an attractive American journalist keen on writing Maugham’s biography turns to Bernie for assistance in gaining access to him. The plot takes a surprising turn, but most compelling are the occasional flashbacks in which Kerr’s hero tries to do the right thing while serving as a cop under the Nazi regime. [em]Author tour. Agent: Caradoc King, A.P. Watt (U.K.). (Mar.) [/em]