|the full english!|
If you haven't read Philip Kerr's novels, then I think you are in for a treat, particularly if you like your detectives slightly ragged and world-weary. Bernie Gunther is a somewhat Chandleresque character - sardonic and wise cracking and his view of his world is a pleasure to read. He is a fundamentally honest man living in very violent, immoral and dishonest times and the novels are about the often uncomfortable choices he has to make. They perfectly evoke the edgy atmosphere of both pre and post war Europe.
A Quiet Flame is actually mainly set in Buenos Aires in 1950, which finds our hero, Bernie, lodging with an English family, called the Lloyds.
"The Lloyds served something called a "fried breakfast": two fried eggs, two strips of bacon, a sausage, a tomato, some mushrooms, and toast. I certainly felt full by the time I'd finished. Every time I ate one I came away with the same thought: It was hard to believe anyone could have fought a war on a breakfast like that."
Which was why I particularly enjoyed the irony of reading recently the newspaper headline "Germany wakes up to the fry-up as British cuisine takes off in Berlin"; that "English" food is becoming fashionable in Germany today, particularly our breakfasts. Hilarious to think that the "Full English" is considered something of a delicacy. Not that I am averse to one - possibly one of the best hangover cures ever. Although Somerset Maugham wrote in the 1930s that "the only way to eat well in England is to have breakfast three times a day." Thank god times have changed!