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The Sleepwalkers

The Sleepwalkers

Author(s): Paul Grossman

Location(s): Berlin

Genre(s): Crime

Era(s): Early 1930s

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In the final weeks of the Weimar Republic, as Hitler and his National Socialist party angle to assume control of Germany, beautiful girls are seen sleepwalking through the streets. Then, a young woman of mysterious origin, with her legs bizarrely deformed, is pulled dead from the Havel River. Willi Kraus, a high ranking detective in Berlin’s police force, begins a murder investigation. A decorated World War I hero and the nation’s most famous detective, Willi is also a Jew. Despite his elite status in the criminal police, he is disturbed by the direction Germany is taking. Working urgently to solve the murder, Willi finds his superiors diverting him at every turn. As he moves through darkness closer to the truth, Willi begins to understand that much more than the solution to the murder is at stake, and Germany itself will never be the same.

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I really enjoyed the authors’s ability to evoke the sights and sounds of Berlin in 1932 – meanwhile describing the fear as the Nazis rise to power (Sachsenhausen features, the concentration camp near to...

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