Blackmail, espionage and a mass murderer from his past await Bernie Gunther on the French Riviera.
The French Riviera, 1956.
A world-weary Bernie Gunther is working under a fake name as a hotel concierge.
His attempts to keep his nose clean go horribly wrong when an acquaintance of the war sucks him into a blackmail scheme involving one of the most famous British writers of the 20th century and Cambridge spies.
Bernie misses his old life as a detective when his past comes through the door in the form of Harold Hennig, the former captain of the Nazi security service, the man who, in 1945, was responsible for the deaths of thousands of people, including a woman Bernie loved.
Hennig now enjoys a lucrative career as a blackmailer.
Hennig's goal on the Côte d'Azur is a famous resident with a dark past and much to hide: the writer Somerset Maugham.
A shared love of bridge draws Bernie to the magnificent village of Maugham, where Maugham tells him about the existence of a very compromising photograph.
Taken in 1937, it shows Maugham among a group of naked men by a swimming pool - one of whom is the infamous spy and homosexual Guy Burgess, who, along with Donald Maclean, has recently defected to Moscow.
Hennig has the photograph and demands $50,000 for its publication.
Bernie is reluctant to become Maugham's agent, but his previous life has made him as vulnerable to blackmail as Maugham himself.
And not only that, he's got a big score to settle with Hennig.
Philip Kerr (Edimburgo, 1956-2018) fue uno de los autores más importantes de novelas policíacas de la literatura contemporánea gracias a la trilogía Berlin Noir (Violetas de marzo, Réquiem pálido criminal y alemán), posteriormente ampliada con One by One, A Mysterious Flame y If the Dead Do Not Resurrect (RBA Crime Novel Prize, 2009).
Kerr estudió derecho en la Universidad de Birmingham, pero pronto dejó el derecho para dedicarse primero a la publicidad y más tarde al periodismo y la literatura.
Además de escribir novelas policíacas, también escribió literatura infantil.
Murió el 23 de marzo de 2018.