Philip Kerr wrote his first Bernie Gunther novels back in the 1980's. He wrote several then he shelved the project and went on to other things.
Kerr's Bernie Gunther character is a Berlin cop in the 1930's. He was a homicide detective when Adolph Hitler's National Socialists came to power.Suddenly, there were a lot more homicides to investigate.
Bernie was no Nazi but he had to find ways to survive under Hitler's reign of terror. These books are steeped in moral ambiguity. A few years ago Kerr brought back the character. In "Field Gray," the latest installment, it's 1954 and Bernie is trying to get out of Cuba where he has been living a quiet life under an assumed name.
In this interview Kerr describes his inspiration for the series and how he devises the extensive flashbacks which transport readers back to Bernie's days as a detective, as a German soldier in both world wars, and as a POW in a Soviet prison camp. Kerr is frequently compared to the legendary crime novelist Raymond Chandler, with good reason.