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Field Gray by Philip Kerr

Field Gray” is the 7th in the “A Bernie Gunther Novel” series by Philip Kerr about the Berlin Kripo detective, Bernie Gunther, who was essentially forced into the SS during World War II.

Field Gray” switches from the 1930’s to 1940’s and into 1954 when Gunther was living in Cuba with an Argentinian passport working for a famous underworld figure in Havana. He is roped into taking one of the girls from a brothel to Haiti in a rented boat and is stopped by the American Navy as they pass by Guantanamo.  What ensued is a series of incarcerations and interrogations by American, French and other operatives to try to discover what Gunther knew of Nazi atrocities and other crimes during the war.

Gunther never joins the Nazi party and abhors any killing that does not adhere to standard conventions of war. He is not beyond planting evidence and doing what needs to be done as a cop to put criminals away.  He is not beyond killing other soldiers when they have been proven to be indiscriminate killers of women and children.  He finds he has to figuratively hold his nose and work with certain Nazi leaders in order to survive or to get favors for people he loves.

Bernie’s musings in prison and confessions during his interrogations give a fascinating insight into the war from a democratic-leaning German officer’s point of view.

This book is not only historical fiction, it is also a spy suspense thriller where Gunther is trying to identify and apprehend certain Nazi thugs and chooses secretly to protect one of them, and a war drama.

I was totally absorbed in “Field Gray” and suspect lovers of many genres would also enjoy it.

Liz Nichols

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Murder in the 11th House by Mitchell Scott Lewis

To be honest, I did not know whether I would like “Murder in the 11th House,” the first in “A Starlight Detective Agency Mystery” series.  The protagonist, David Lowell,  is a detective who uses very controversial methods to learn as much as possible about the victim and potential perpetrators using astrology as a tool.  Lowell uses a variety of charts and astrological computer programs to chart the astrology behind the personality and motivations around the birth and death dates and times, and he does as much as possible to discover the same information from the other people close to the murder.

I started out extremely skeptical about the way Lowell always seemed to be able to peg the people he charts right every time, but something about the way he went about confirming everything through the good old-fashioned gumshoe methods finally convinced me that this astrological stuff could work.  I might even want sometime to have my own charts read.

It is easier now to see astrology as just another tool that can be used to break through the masks that people put up to hide their true intentions and interests.

The case revolves around a rough-and-tumble woman bartender who is using Lowell’s daughter as her court appointed attorney to fight a charge of having blown up a judge with whom she had a run-in at court.  The accused, Johnny Colbert, has the knowledge, the motive and opportunity to be the murderer and it was a difficult situation to prove in court that there was reasonable doubt about her guilt given her astrological chart.

The author does a great job of building the intensity so that the reader finds it difficult to put the book down.  It is easy to become involved with the Lowells and their team of sleuths in solving the case and to care what happens to each character.

The author, Mitchell Scott Lewis is a practicing astrologer and teacher in New York City.  He worked for several years on the Mercantile Exchange as an “astrological trader and market analyst.”  His clientele represent a good cross section of the New York City entertainment and financial world.

This book may not appeal to everyone, but it should win over most mystery lovers.

Liz Nichols

 

 

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