About Me

My photo
Melfort, Saskatchewan, Canada
I am a lawyer in Melfort, Saskatchewan, Canada who enjoys reading, especially mysteries. Since 2000 I have been writing personal book reviews. This blog includes my reviews, information on and interviews with authors and descriptions of mystery bookstores I have visited. I strive to review all Saskatchewan mysteries. Other Canadian mysteries are listed under the Rest of Canada. As a lawyer I am always interested in legal mysteries. I have a separate page for legal mysteries. Occasionally my reviews of legal mysteries comment on the legal reality of the mystery. You can follow the progression of my favourite authors with up to 15 reviews. Each year I select my favourites in "Bill's Best of ----". As well as current reviews I am posting reviews from 2000 to 2011. Below my most recent couple of posts are the posts of Saskatchewan mysteries I have reviewed alphabetically by author. If you only want a sentence or two description of the book and my recommendation when deciding whether to read the book look at the bold portion of the review. If you would like to email me the link to my email is on the profile page.

Monday, September 5, 2011

The Good German by Joseph Kanon

This week the Crime Fiction on a Euro Pass journey hosted by Kerrie at Mysteries in Paradise reaches Germany. My wife, youngest son and myself spent a wonderful two weeks in Germany this spring. For my contribution I have chosen a book that explores the morality of decisions made by Germans living in Nazi Germany.


64. - 245.) The Good German by Joseph Kanon – Reporter, Jake Geismar, arrives in Berlin in the summer of 1945 to search for Lena Brandt, his lover at the start of World War II. He seeks to solve the mystery of the killing of an American officer whose body washes up in front of the Potsdam Conference. He explores the corruption of the winners. The devastation of Berlin has never been better conveyed to me. Improbably but fairly he finds Brandt. He faces the dilemma of Germans. Brandt’s husband, a rocket scientist, calculated the minimum level of calories to feed slave workers at the under mountain rocket factory. An old Jewish friend was a greifer, a scout for the Gestapo, finding Jews hiding in Berlin. A police officer continues to hunt criminals for a criminal regime. Who is a “good German”? Alittle long but an excellent book. Hardcover. (Nov. 4/04)


  1. This was one that I meant to read but never got to Bill. Thanks for the reminder

  2. Bill - Thanks for letting us know about this book. I always appreciate a book that addresses those larger and more important issues within the context of a story. It's sometimes a challenge, I think, for an author to touch on something so painful and sensitive and still keep his or her focus on the story. I'm going to have to look this one up.

  3. Kerrie: Thanks for the comment. I look forward to a review sometime in the future.

  4. Margot: It is a book which addresses big issues within the mytery. I believe you will enjoy it.

  5. I too found this book a compelling read and a vivid picture of the complex social and political issues in Germany immediately following WW2. When I lived in Germany in the 1970's, all of that history remained largely papered over, not taught in schools nor spoken of in homes. The Good German was a revelation to many German friends of my generation.

  6. Jayne: Thanks for the comment. I have visited Germany on three trips. My younger son lived there for a year and my wife has German cousins. I found the 20th Century has almost been wiped out from their history. Only when my son had lived there for almost a year did he have some real discussions about the Nazi regime and WW II. I have found Gitta Sereny's books on Germans, especially Albert Speer to be fascination for their insights into German thinking during and after that era.