February 1949. The three sectors of West Berlin still rely on the airlifts bringing over food and medicine; electricity is rationed, homes are cold and dark; and attempting to cross over to the eastern sector is getting more and more risky. On the mountains of rubble left over from the city bombed to bits, a mass grave has been found and three corpses. Word has it there’s a new gang in town that terrifies even the old guard. Commissioner Oppenheimer duly appoints a special commission made of up the city’s best, but nothing seems to help. The informers vanish and the few witnesses don’t live long enough to talk. A young man named Jo is setting up to be the next Al Capone.
Harald Gilbers studied English literature and modern and contemporary history. He has contributed to the cultural pages and television programs and been a stage director as well. In 2013, the popular protagonist of his novels first saw the light: Richard Oppenheimer, a former police commissioner in Berlin, fired for being Jewish but not deported, due to an Aryan marriage with Lisa. The background is Germany brought to its knees by air raids and famine and split in two between the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. right after the war. Gilbers’ first novel in the series, Germania: A Novel of Nazi Berlin (2013) won the 2014 Glauser Prize, one of Germany’s leading mystery novel awards, while in 2016, the second installment in the series, Odins Söhne (2015), was honored with the Prix Historia in France.