The Pale Criminal Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of The Pale Criminal

Two years after the events in _March Violets_, in August to October 1938, things are getting worse in Germany. Private eye Bernie Gunther has taken on another good ex-cop as his partner, Bruno Stahlecker, but Bruno is killed on a stakeout. The two have been working on what looks like a fairly simple blackmail situation (someone is leaning on the wealthy mother of a homosexual male by selling back his love letters to a male doctor), but then Bernie is tapped by none other than Obergruppenfuhrer Heydrich for a much bigger job: catching the serial sex murderer who is taking down blonde Aryan teenage girls in Berlin and making fools of the police. Bernie has no choice but to accept the temporary post of Kriminalkommissar in Heydrich's state Security Service, with a team of men underneath him that he's not sure he can trust any more than his superiors. Our hero finds himself wallowing through some of the grimiest sectors of the Nazi hierarchy in search of the man or men who are killing young girls (and, it turns out were responsible not only for his partner's death, but the unexplained disappearance of his beloved Inge in the first book).
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The review of this Book prepared by David Loftus

Chapter Analysis of The Pale Criminal

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Plot & Themes

Composition of Book descript. of violence and chases 30%Planning/preparing, gather info, debate puzzles/motives 40%Feelings, relationships, character bio/development 20%How society works & physical descript. (people, objects, places) 10% Tone of story    -   Dry-cynical Time/era of story:    -   1930's-1950's Spying/Terrorism Thriller    -   Yes Cloak & Dagger Plotlets:    -   power struggle within govt between two factions What % of story relates directly to the mystery, not the subplot?    -   70% Misc. Murder Plotlets    -   Big focus on forensic evidence 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 Who's the terrorist enemy here?    -   evil subgroup in own govt Murder Mystery (killer unknown)    -   Yes Search for technology?    -   state secrets

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

Writing Style

Accounts of torture and death?    -   very gorey descriptions deaths/dead bodies Explicit sex in book?    -   Yes What kind of sex:    -   descript of kissing    -   actual description of sex    -   descript. of breasts Unusual forms of death    -   asphyxiation    -   perforation--bullets    -   perforation--swords/knives 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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