Wednesday, April 18, 2018

A Send-off Full of Gratitude

It was only two days ago that I finished my voracious reading of Greeks Bearing Gifts, the penultimate novel by Philip Kerr, who passed away last month at age 62, just prior to the novel’s publication. British author Kerr had long been a favorite author of mine, someone whose writing combined Raymond Chandler’s poetic sarcasm about life and its disappointments with a historian’s grasp of world-changing events and their often-underappreciated impact on individuals.

Therefore, I was pleased to see this new post in Shotsmag Confidential, penned by my good friend and colleague Ali Karim, relating events from Kerr’s funeral, which was held this week at St. Mary’s Church in the London district of Wimbledon. Ali paid his last respects to Kerr in company with critic-author Mike Ripley. He writes:
It was a very sunny day in London, and the attendants mainly friends and family members, though we met up with Jane Wood, his [UK] editor, Carodoc King [Kerr’s literary agent], and saw [author] Sebastian Faulks as well as [actor] John Sessions.

There were readings from his children, Charlie, William and Naomi, and the priest recounted how Phil Kerr found faith later in life.

We were invited by the family back to their house, where they had catering and drinks for the guests. I got talking to the team from Quercus Publishing, including … Jane Wood. She confirmed that the final Bernie Gunther novel,
Metropolis, has been delivered [it’s due out in April 2019], and she confirmed Carodoc King’s assertion that “Metropolis is the finest and most complex and thrilling Bernie Gunther novel.”

So it was soon time to leave, [but] before heading off, Mike Ripley and I thanked Quercus Publishing and Phil’s family for a memorable celebration—though sad—for we came to represent the very best wishes from
Shots magazine, The Rap Sheet, January Magazine, and Deadly Pleasures Magazine (as we contribute to [all of] them).

One part of Carodoc King’s comments echoes in my mind, and is one that I deeply believe to be true: “despite all the published work of Philip Kerr, it will be Bernie Gunther that he will be remembered for.”
It’s heartbreaking to me that an author who has brought so much pleasure to my reading experiences over the years should have left us so early, and I am sorry that I could not attend his funeral myself. But I’m glad to know he was shown off with such manifest love.

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