THE SPRING OF KASPER MEIER
By Ben Fergusson
Reviewed by Graeme Aitken
This is a first-rate crime novel which is enhanced beyond measure by a truly fascinating setting: Berlin in 1946, as its citizens struggle to scrape along in their devastated city. The crime at the heart of the novel is also intriguing – a mysterious avenger is murdering soldiers who were responsible for raping local women.
The main character Kasper Meier becomes embroiled in this business when a young woman, Eva, tries to blackmail him for information about a particular soldier. Information is Kasper’s forté. He has adapted well to the desperate new times in Berlin and is a master at exploiting the black market and knowing the value of things. Yet, he has two weaknesses – he is secretly sheltering his invalid father and he is also homosexual. Although the book’s blurb gives nothing away, Kasper’s sexuality is explored very fully – his mourning over the loss of his lover Phillip, his occasional sexual encounters, and his dismissal of needy Heinrich who yearns for something more with him. But both Eva and Heinrich become very integral to the narrative in this cleverly plotted and highly atmospheric page-turner. Recommended!