Philip Kerr, 2009
Bernie Gunther's last job in Austria ended in an odd way. After he was mistaken for a nazi criminal of war, he had to assume that personality to join an organization that helped nazis to escape from the prosecution of the allied forces in Europe. So he ends his journey landing in the Argentina of Perón, a file-fascist regime that received Germans with arms wide opened. After being introduced to Perón himself, he ends up working in the SIDE, the Argentine secret police, and he is committed to investigate the case of a missing girl that Colonel Montalban, Gunther's new boss, thinks is related to other cases in Germany that Gunther couldn't solve in the past. The development of the investigation will lead Gunther to deal with the consequences of Directive Eleven, an order issued by the Argentine government related to the Jews in the country. With the help of Anna Yagubsky, an Argentine Jew, he will realize that things in Argentina may not have been so different to what happened in Germany...
A Quiet Flame is a surprising novel. It reveals the huge capacity that Philip Kerr has to keep Bernie Gunther being the same honest, idealistic and cynical detective, despite the radical change of location. Kerr takes advantage of the stories that talk about the new life that lots of former nazi officers had in Argentine (some of them proved, like Eichmann) to draw a scenario in which the appearance of people like Otto Skorzeny, Eichmann, Perón, Evita and many others seems to be completely plausible and even natural. He also explores a dramatical possibility: that other countries apart from Germany could have implemented their own final solution for the Jew problem.
In a few words, we meet again with Bernie Gunther, the classical private investigator that, despite of being thousands of miles away from Germany, has to keep on dealing with the ghosts of his own past and with all the evil that nazism put on earth. Totally recommendable.