A German Requiem by Philip Kerr Penguin, HK$109 A German Requiem should prompt readers to consume Philip Kerr's first two books in his so-called Berlin noir trilogy, which began with detective Bernie Gunther in March Violets and continued with The Pale Criminal. In the wrap-up novel, set in 1947, our Philip Marlowe-type hero has survived the fall of the Third Reich, Berlin resembles 'a colossal Acropolis of fallen masonry and ruined edifice', and the city is flooded with 'Ivans' from the Russian army. Gunther, now married to a woman who sells herself to US Army officers for hard-to-get products, is lured to Vienna by the promise of a generous reward for clearing the name of an unscrupulous acquaintance charged with the murder of a US army captain. Investigating the case, however, brings Gunther into contact with former Nazis who now spy on the Russians for the US. The levels of deception and depravity will have heads spinning as the pacey narrative leads to a hair-raising finale. Kerr, whom Salman Rushdie has described as 'a brilliantly innovative thriller writer', excels not only at plotting and dialogue in this novel. Equally memorable is his creation of atmosphere.