Book picks similar to
A Quiet Flame by Philip Kerr


mystery
historical-fiction
fiction
crime

Germania


Harald Gilbers - 2013
    All of the victims are linked to the Nazi party. But according to one eyewitness account, the perpetrator is not an opponent of Hitler's regime, but rather a loyal Nazi.Jewish detective Richard Oppenheimer, once a successful investigator for the Berlin police, is reactivated by the Gestapo and forced onto the case. Oppenheimer is not just concerned with catching the killer and helping others survive, but also his own survival. Worst of all, solving this case is what will certainly put him in the most jeopardy. With no other choice but to futher his investigation, he feverishly searches for answers, and a way out of this dangerous game.

Black Out


John Lawton - 1995
    Detective-Sergeant Troy starts with the clue of a neatly dismembered corpse leading him into a world of stateless refugees, military intelligence, and corruption all the way to the top of Allied High Command.

Black Roses


Jane Thynne - 2013
    Warning bells ring across Europe as Hitler comes to power. Clara Vine, an attractive young Anglo-German actress, arrives in Berlin to find work at the famous Ufa studios. Through a chance meeting, she is unwillingly drawn into a circle of Nazi wives, among them Magda Goebbels, Anneliese von Ribbentrop and Goering's girlfriend Emmy Sonnemann. As part of his plan to create a new pure German race, Hitler wants to make sweeping changes to the lives of women, starting with the formation of a Reich Fashion Bureau, instructing women on what to wear and how to behave. Clara is invited to model the dowdy, unflattering clothes. Then she meets Leo Quinn who is working for British intelligence and who sees in Clara the perfect recruit to spy on her new elite friends, using her acting skills to win their confidence. But when Magda Goebbels reveals to Clara a dramatic secret and entrusts her with an extraordinary mission, Clara feels threatened, compromised, desperately caught between her duty towards — and growing affection for — Leo, and the impossibly dangerous task Magda has forced upon her.

Zoo Station


David Downing - 2007
    He writes human-interest pieces for British and American papers, avoiding the investigative journalism that could get him deported. But as war approaches, he faces the prospect of having to leave his son and his longtime girlfriend. Then, an acquaintance from his communist days approaches him to do some work for the Soviets. Russell is reluctant but ultimately unable to resist. He becomes involved in other dangerous activities, helping a Jewish family and an idealistic American reporter. When the British and the Nazis notice his involvement with the Soviets, Russell is dragged into the world of warring intelligence services.

Perfidia


James Ellroy - 2014
    The United States teeters on the edge of war. The roundup of allegedly treasonous Japanese Americans is about to begin. And in L.A., a Japanese family is found dead. Murder or ritual suicide? The investigation will draw four people into a totally Ellroy-ian tangle: a brilliant Japanese American forensic chemist; an unsatisfiably adventurous young woman; one police officer based in fact (William H. "Whiskey Bill" Parker, later to become the groundbreaking chief of the LAPD), the other the product of Ellroy's inimitable imagination (Dudley Smith, arch villain of The Big Nowhere, L.A. Confidential, White Jazz). As their lives intertwine, we are given a story of war and of consuming romance, a searing exposé of the Japanese internment, and an astonishingly detailed homicide investigation. In Perfidia, Ellroy delves more deeply than ever before into his characters' intellectual and emotional lives. But it has the full-strength, unbridled story-telling audacity that has marked all the acclaimed work of the Demon Dog of American Crime Fiction.

The Widow Killer


Pavel Kohout - 1995
    In Prague during the final months of the Nazi occupation, a sadistic killer consumed by his own psychopathic agenda relentlessly stalks his victims.

The Murderer in Ruins


Cay Rademacher - 2011
    A ruined city occupied by the British who bombed it, experiencing the coldest winter in living memory. Food is scarce; refugees and the homeless crowd into shanty towns and sheds. There is a killer on the loose, and all attempts to find him or her have failed. Plagued with worry about his missing son, Frank Stave is a career policeman with a tragedy in his past that is driving his determination to find the killer. With the help of his colleague Maschke from the vice squad, and Lt MacDonald from the British military, Stave has to find out why and who in the wake of a wave of atrocity, the grim Nazi past and the bleak attempts by his German countrymen to recreate a country from the apocalypse someone is still dedicated to murder. The first of a trilogy The Murderer in Ruins is at once evocative, impeccably plotted and beautifully textured, vividly describing a poignant moment in British/German history, with a plot so divinely seamless and riveting, you ll be unable to put it down. A spine-tingling portrayal of pure evil, with multiple twists, turns and subplots, you ll have no idea, until the final extraordinary denouement, what or who will rise from the ashes.

Leaving Berlin


Joseph Kanon - 2014
    Almost four years after the war’s end, the city is still in ruins, a physical wasteland and a political symbol about to rupture. In the West, a defiant, blockaded city is barely surviving on airlifted supplies; in the East, the heady early days of political reconstruction are being undermined by the murky compromises of the Cold War. Espionage, like the black market, is a fact of life. Even culture has become a battleground, with German intellectuals being lured back from exile to add credibility to the competing sectors.Alex Meier, a young Jewish writer, fled the Nazis for America before the war. But the politics of his youth have now put him in the cross-hairs of the McCarthy witch-hunts. Faced with deportation and the loss of his family, he makes a desperate bargain with the fledgling CIA: he will earn his way back to America by acting as their agent in his native Berlin. But almost from the start things go fatally wrong. A kidnapping misfires, an East German agent is killed, and Alex finds himself a wanted man. Worse, he discovers his real assignment — to spy on the woman he left behind, the only woman he has ever loved. Changing sides in Berlin is as easy as crossing a sector border. But where do we draw the lines of our moral boundaries? At betrayal? Survival? Murder?Joseph Kanon’s compelling thriller is a love story that brilliantly brings a shadowy period of history vividly to life.

Mr. Churchill's Secretary


Susan Elia MacNeal - 2012
    King, and Anne Perry, Mr. Churchill’s Secretary captures the drama of an era of unprecedented challenge—and the greatness that rose to meet it.London, 1940. Winston Churchill has just been sworn in, war rages across the Channel, and the threat of a Blitz looms larger by the day. But none of this deters Maggie Hope. She graduated at the top of her college class and possesses all the skills of the finest minds in British intelligence, but her gender qualifies her only to be the newest typist at No. 10 Downing Street. Her indefatigable spirit and remarkable gifts for codebreaking, though, rival those of even the highest men in government, and Maggie finds that working for the prime minister affords her a level of clearance she could never have imagined—and opportunities she will not let pass. In troubled, deadly times, with air-raid sirens sending multitudes underground, access to the War Rooms also exposes Maggie to the machinations of a menacing faction determined to do whatever it takes to change the course of history.Ensnared in a web of spies, murder, and intrigue, Maggie must work quickly to balance her duty to King and Country with her chances for survival. And when she unravels a mystery that points toward her own family’s hidden secrets, she’ll discover that her quick wits are all that stand between an assassin’s murderous plan and Churchill himself.In this daring debut, Susan Elia MacNeal blends meticulous research on the era, psychological insight into Winston Churchill, and the creation of a riveting main character,  Maggie Hope, into a spectacularly crafted novel.

A Small Death in Lisbon


Robert Wilson - 1999
    for the best mystery of 1999, this complex literary thriller may be one of the most satisfying suspense novels to come along in some time. Robert Wilson has written several political thrillers, most of which are set in West Africa, but they are, alas, largely unavailable in the U.S.In A Small Death in Lisbon, the narrative switches back and forth between 1941 and 1999, and Wilson's wide knowledge of history and keen sense of place make the eras equally vibrant. In 1941 Germany, Klaus Felsen, an industrialist, is approached by the SS high command in a none-too-friendly manner and is "persuaded" to go to Lisbon and oversee the sale--or smuggling--of wolfram (also known as tungsten, used in the manufacture of tanks and airplanes). World War II Portugal is neutral where business is concerned, and too much of the precious metal is being sold to Britain when Germany needs it to insure that Hitler's blitzkrieg is successful.Cut to 1999 Lisbon, where the daughter of a prominent lawyer has been found dead on a beach. Ze Coelho, a liberal police inspector who is a widower with a daughter of his own, must sift through the life of Catarina Oliveira and discover why she was so brutally murdered. Her father is enigmatic, her mother suicidal; her friends were rock musicians and drug addicts.The reader is treated to a wonderful portrait of Lisbon in the aftermath of the 1974 revolution that ousted Salazar from power, and the scars from that conflict are still close to the surface for the citizens of Lisbon, including Coehlo and his colleagues. We also see World War II in a slightly different manner from that to which we are accustomed--through the eyes of the Germans and the Portuguese. The pace of the book is leisurely but compelling as the events of 1941 and those in 1999 merge in an extraordinary climax

Transcription


Kate Atkinson - 2018
    Sent to an obscure department of MI5 tasked with monitoring the comings and goings of British Fascist sympathizers, she discovers the work to be by turns both tedious and terrifying. But after the war has ended, she presumes the events of those years have been relegated to the past forever.Ten years later, now a radio producer at the BBC, Juliet is unexpectedly confronted by figures from her past. A different war is being fought now, on a different battleground, but Juliet finds herself once more under threat. A bill of reckoning is due, and she finally begins to realize that there is no action without consequence.

A Trace of Smoke


Rebecca Cantrell - 2009
    Ernst, a cross-dressing lounge singer at a seedy nightclub, had many secrets, a never-ending list of lovers, and plenty of opportunities to get into trouble.Hannah delves into the city's dark underbelly to flush out his murderer, but the late night arrival of a five-year-old orphan on her doorstep complicates matters. The endearing Anton claims that Hannah is his mother. and that her dead brother Ernst is his father.As her investigations into Ernst's murder and Anton's parentage uncover political intrigue and sex scandals in the top ranks of the rising Nazi party, Hannah fears not only for her own life, but for that of a small boy who has come to call her 'mother.'

The Bridge of Sighs


Olen Steinhauer - 2003
    But the Red Army still patrols the capital's rubble-strewn streets, and the ideals of the Revolution are but memories. Twenty-two-year-old Detective Emil Brod, an eager young man who spent the war working on a fishing boat in Finland, finally gets his chance to serve his country, investigating murder for the People's Militia.The victim in Emil's first case is a state songwriter, but the evidence seems to point toward a political motive. He would like to investigate further, but even in his naivete, he realizes that the police academy never prepared him for this peculiar post-war environment, in which his colleagues are suspicious or silent, where lawlessness and corruption are the rules of the city, and in which he's still expected to investigate a murder. He is truly on his own in this new, dangerous world.The Bridge of Sighs launches a unique series of crime novels featuring a dynamic cast of characters in an ever-evolving landscape, the politically volatile terrain of Eastern Europe in the second half of the 20th century.The Bridge of Sighs is a 2004 Edgar Award Nominee for Best First Novel.

A Gathering of Saints


Christopher Hyde - 1996
    At summer's end in 1940, London skies turn war-black as Hitler's airborne hordes begin the Blitz. From the bustling working-class East End to the Underground Stations at Charing Cross and Leicester Square, lethal Nazi Flammenbomben transform the city into a cauldron of human suffering. Against this terrifying scene, a lone psychopath plays his own ghastly game, stalking individual victims and killing them with methodical precision. Probing the murders is Detective Inspector Morris Black of Scotland Yard, a middle-aged Jewish widower gifted with an uncanny ability to divine the truth of a crime from the most meager evidence. As Black tracks his man - whom he dubs Queer Jack - from corpse to corpse, he discovers that each victim was killed at the site of a devastating Luftwaffe raid, only hours before the raid occurred! Black soon learns how explosive his discovery is when he is summoned into Churchill's Magic Circle - the supersecret group of officers, politicians, and spies desperate to draw the United States into war despite rumors that American ambassador Joseph P. Kennedy and his British allies want a separate peace with Hitler. Churchill's men tell Black that British intelligence has cracked "Ultra, " the Nazi military code. The secret must be kept from the Nazis - even if it means allowing thousands to be killed in cities the Magic Circle knows are about to be bombed. An even worse truth is revealed to Black - a Nazi spy in Britain, known toIntelligence as The Doctor, is probably on the trail of Queer Jack too. Somehow, the murderer knows the Ultra secret. If The Doctor finds him first, the Nazis will know that their code has been broken, and Britain could lose the war.

The Sleepwalkers


Paul Grossman - 2010
    A decorated World War I hero and the nation's most famous detective, Willi also is a Jew. Despite his elite status in the criminal police, he is disturbed by the direction Germany is taking.  Working urgently to solve the murder, Willi finds his superiors diverting him at every turn. As he moves through darkness closer to the truth, Willi begins to understand that much more than the solution to a murder is at stake. What he discovers will mean that his life, the lives of his friends and family, and Germany itself will never be the same.