The Other Side of Silence

By Philip Kerr

# 11 in Bernie Gunther


Bernie Gunther has done various jobs since the war.

Now it’s the 1950s and he’s working in a hotel on the Cote D’Azur. It’s winter, and the Riviera is empty and a little sad. In a bar one evening he bumps into Herr Leuthard, an acquaintance from the war, who offers him a most enticing job.

Leuthard owns the Grand Hotel du Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat. It’s the best hotel on the Cote D’Azur and everyone has heard of it. Leuthard knows of Bernie’ skills and thinks he could use them. Bernie’s not so sure, says his detective days are over and he couldn’t find a missing person in a phone booth.

No matter, Leuthard tells him, I need a concierge, not a detective. A good concierge has to be a bit like a detective. He’s expected to know things, to fix things – sometimes he has to know things he’s not supposed to know, and do things that others wouldn’t want to do. Pleasing guests can be a tricky business, especially the ones with a lot of money.

It sounds like a cushy number for a man like Bernie Gunther. And so begins a new adventure for him, where he’ll discover just how many bad people pass through the doors of the Grand Hotel du Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat.

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