March Violets Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of March Violets

Native Scot author Philip Kerr's debut novel in 1989 packs a wallop. The setting is Berlin in 1936, the third year of the Reich, and private eye (former cop) Bernie Gunther is getting a lot of missing person cases. Then a steel industrialist asks him to investigate the shooting and arson death of his beloved daughter and not so favorite son-in-law, a lawyer who turns out to have been a climber in the SS. The father wants Gunther to retrieve a diamond necklace worth three quarters of a million marks that disappeared from the couple's bedroom safe. Unfortunately, the Gestapo leans on our hero, he gets beat up a few times, more bodies turn up, and the trail eventually leads through Obergruppenfuhrer Heydrich (Himmler's second in command) and into Dachau.
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The review of this Book prepared by David Loftus

Chapter Analysis of March Violets

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Plot & Themes

Composition of Book descript. of violence and chases 20%Planning/preparing, gather info, debate puzzles/motives 40%Feelings, relationships, character bio/development 20%How society works & physical descript. (people, objects, places) 20% Tone of story    -   Dry-cynical How difficult to spot villain?    -   Very difficult--no foreshadowing/clues Time/era of story:    -   1930's-1950's What % of story relates directly to the mystery, not the subplot?    -   70% Misc. Murder Plotlets    -   character killed during/after sexing    -   "All in the family" murder Kind of investigator    -   hard boiled/private eye Kid or adult book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book Any non-mystery subplot?    -   minority/women/gay rights Crime Thriller    -   Yes Murder Mystery (killer unknown)    -   Yes

Main Character

Gender    -   Male Profession/status:    -   private investigator Age:    -   20's-30's Ethnicity/Race    -   German


Europe    -   Yes European country:    -   Germany City?    -   Yes City:    -   dangerous Misc setting    -   prison

Writing Style

Accounts of torture and death?    -   very gorey references to deaths/dead bodies and torture Explicit sex in book?    -   Yes What kind of sex:    -   descript of kissing    -   actual description of sex    -   descript. of breasts    -   rape (yeech!) Unusual forms of death    -   perforation--bullets    -   blunt clubbing (like seals) Unusual form of death?    -   Yes Amount of dialog    -   roughly even amounts of descript and dialog

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Philip Kerr Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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