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Tuesday, June 07, 2016

Review: Berlin Burning: A Weimar Republic Murder Mystery novella by Damien Seaman

This novella takes place in 1932 and highlights the tension between the political thuggery of the Brownshirts and the regular police forces as the Nazis came to power. It follows the investigation of Kriminalkommissar Trautman and his assistant Roth into the murder of a Brownshirt. The presumed murderer is the dead man’s girlfriend, daughter of a local mafia-type boss and because of the political implications the Schutzpolizei, Schupo for short, under Kessler want to wrest control away from Trautman.

The Kripo (Kriminalpolizei) were the investigative branch of the state who, similar to our detectives squads while the Schutzpolizei were the uniformed branch ostensibly charged with enforcing the more prosaic laws although the overlap and distinctions became quite nebulous as various groups sought power in the thirties in Germany. By 1936, the Kripo had become a national police force with the most power, as far as I can determine.

It’s an OK story that suffers from its brevity. In a full novel the conflict and tensions between the regular police forces and those being taken over by the Nazis to promote their insidious political goals could have been explored in more depth and with more clarity, something Philip Kerr does so well in his Bernie Gunther series.
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