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Tips for crime novels in which Berlin plays the leading role

On a murder hunt through Berlin

© Shutterstock/Kordelianu Andrei

For the evenings on the couch, we have put together a few exciting detective stories that will take you into Berlin's dark corners and hopefully provide a little distraction. Have fun reading.

If you still have some tips for a good thriller set in Berlin, please write them in the comments. We appreciate your feedback.

Tip 1: The Gedeon Rath novels by Volker Kutscher

Babylon Berlin: Volker Bruch als Gereon Rath
Gereon Rath (Volker Bruch) © Frédéric Batier / X Filme 2017

Not only with the successful film adaptation as the series Babylon Berlin, the thrilling crime thrillers around the policeman Gereon Rath are popular crime fare from Berlin. Volker Kutscher's novels are set in Berlin at the time of the rise of National Socialism and offer at the same time a well-researched insight into the politics and society of the late 1920s and early 1930s. There are a total of seven volumes in the series, so there is plenty of reading material.

Tip 2: Berlin triology by Philip Kerr

Sunset at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin
Sunset at the Brandenburg Gate © Getty Images, Foto: I just try to tell my emotions and take you around the world

Long before Volker Kutscher had his Gedeon Rath investigated, Philip Kerr had already sent his private detective Barnie Gunther to Berlin during the National Socialist era. In the first three novels of the series Barnie Gunther sets off in search of murderers in Berlin. In the other volumes he is involved in gripping international cases.

Tip 3: The Eye Collector by Sebastian Fitzek

View of the Wannsee © visitBerlin, Foto: Dagmar Schwelle

Not for the faint-hearted: Sebastian Fitzek is a Berliner and so many of his gripping psychological thrillers are set in Berlin. "The Eye collector" takes you out to the Wannsee and to Grünau, where the bestial eye collector is up to no good.

Tip 4: Auris by Vincent Kliesch  

former US listening station Teufelsberg in Berlin
viewing platform of listening station Teufelsberg © visitBerlin, Foto: Martin Gentischer

Based on an idea by Sebastian Fitzek, this fascinating thriller was created, the start of a new series around the true crime podcaster Jula Ansorge. If you want to know what forensic phonetics is, then read on. You won't be able to stop that soon. By the way, the book premiere took place in the former wiretapping facilities on Teufelsberg. (In German only)

Tip 5:  Der König von Berlin by Horst Ewers

Berlin central station in the evening
Berlin central station © visitBerlin, Foto: Pierre Adenis

Horst Ewers is a well-known cabaret artist, but he can also be different. In the King of Berlin, the "village sheriff" Inspector Lanner, freshly transferred to Berlin from the provinces, is on a murder hunt and descends into the shallows of the metropolis, where a plague of rats and other inconveniences await him.  A bit of cabaret is also included. (In German only)

Tip 6: Königsblau - Mord nach jeder Fasson by Tom Wolf

Sanssouci in Potsdam
Sanssouci in Potsdam © SPSG, Schloss Sanssouci, Leo Seidel

Commissioned by Frederick II, the court kitchen master, Honoré Langustier, investigates in a total of thirteen volumes with colourful titles such as "Raven Black", "Sceptre and Mordio", "Purple Red" or "Sulphur Yellow". The culinary artist, who loves good food as much as tricky thought games, investigates at at the Prussian court and in the Berlin of that time. (In German only)

Tip 7: Shalom Berlin by Michael Wallner

Menora © Getty Images, Foto: blueenayim

The prelude to a new series by bestselling author Michael Wallner deals with current topics such as anti-Semitism and tendency to violence. Alain Liebermann is a member of the mobile task force State Security and is a specialist in counter-terrorism. His first case begins with the threat to a journalist and soon leads him to evil machinations and acts of violence.(In German only)

Tip 8: The Bullet Trick by Louise Welsh

Comedy cabaret stage in Berlin
Stage cabaret & comedy © Getty Images, Foto: Trodler

From Glasgow to Berlin: The English thriller takes place in the small, already run-down variety theatres where the magician William Wilson performs. It is less a classic whodunit than the fascinating psychogram of a man between guilt and innocence.

Tip 9: Leo Berlin by Susanne Goga

Babelsberg Film Studio in Potsdam
Film Studio Babelsberg © Foto: Unify by wikimedia commons

The Leo Dressler series by Susanne Goga is set in 1920s Berlin. Inspector Leo Wechsler investigates the case of a murdered miracle healer. In the further volumes he has to deal with right-wing secret societies, murder in the film studios of Babelsberg and poison attacks in the fashion industry. (In German only)

Tip 10: Crime novels by -ky

Köpenick Palace near historic centre of Köpenick
Köpenick Palace © visitBerlin, Foto: Dagmar Schwelle

The classic of the Berlin crime novel. The author Horst Bosetzky, who died in 2018, has published numerous crime novels under the pseudonym -ky, many of which are based on historical cases. In "The Devil of Köpenick" he dealt with the case of the alleged murderer Bruno Lüdke. And with his "Es geschah in Preußen" series he has brought 19th century Prussian Berlin back to life. (In German only)

Tip 11: Russengold by Richard Grosse

Weltzeituhr und Fernsehturm am Alexanderplatz
© visitBerlin, Foto: Wolfgang Scholvien

Richard Grosse's crime novels take you back to the GDR of the 1970s. Major Bircher searches between Berlin and Moscow for a cunning murderer. In the crime thriller "Hochhausmörder" he has to put a stop to a serial killer who is up to no good in the "Haus des Kindes" high-rise.

Kristin: visitBerlin-Bloggerin unter


does not smile on fotos. But in real life she enjoys with a smile in her face the rich cultural life of Berlin - the metropolis both in front of and behind the scenes. Her favourite season is the Berlinale, then she spends 10 days watching movies and writing about them in the blog. All posts