The Spring of Kasper Meier
Berlin, 1946. Everything is in short supply. Including the truth. The war is over, but Berlin is a desolate sea of rubble. There is a shortage of everything: food, clothing, tobacco. The local population is scrabbling to get by. Kasper Meier is one of these Germans, and his solution is to trade on the black market to feed himself and his elderly father. He can find anything that people need, for the right price. Even other people. When a young woman, Eva, arrives at Kasper's door seeking the whereabouts of a British pilot, he feels a reluctant sympathy for her but won't interfere in military affairs. But Eva is prepared for this. Kasper has secrets, she knows them, and she'll use them to get what she wants. As the threats against him mount, Kasper is drawn into a world of intrigue he could never have anticipated. Why is Eva so insistent that he find the pilot? Who is the shadowy Frau Beckmann and what is her hold over Eva? Under constant surveillance, Kasper navigates the dangerous streets and secrets of a city still reeling from the horrors of war and defeat. As a net of deceit, lies and betrayal falls around him, Kasper begins to understand that the seemingly random killings of members of the occupying forces are connected to his own situation. He must work out who is behind Eva's demands, and why - while at the same time trying to save himself, his father and Eva.
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Fergusson's debut portrays the desperation of Berlin and its people at a time when a murder could go unnoticed. The plot grows more gripping as the reader navigates its surprising twists and turns Sunday Express Similarly intelligent is Ben Fergusson's The Spring of Kasper Meier ... the real coup here is the evocation of a minatory, crazy-quilt 1940s Berlin Independent The finest thing in the novel is the imaginative recreation of time and place, the bombed and ruined city over which the past hangs darkly, where no possible future can yet be envisaged ... A decidedly accomplished first novel ... where the keenness of observation and the rhythms of the prose call Graham Greene to mind -- Allan Massie Scotsman A formidable first novel - I loved it -- Tania Findlay Sun A powerful evocation of shattered lives trying to reconnect - and a heartbreaking story of the pain of compassion -- Jake Arnott, bestselling author of The Long Firm A gripping mystery set in a surreal and terrifying post-war Berlin where nothing is quite what it seems. I loved it -- William Ryan, author of The Korolev Mysteries series What I loved about this book were two things above all: firstly, a moment in time and place - devastated post-war Berlin - in which things were done that one knew nothing about, and were shocking. Secondly, he brought Kasper and Eva and the others' experience to pungent physical life with his sensual description of sight, sound, and above all smell. It was real on the page. A great achievement and a tremendous debut -- Tim Pears, author of In The Light of Morning The plot is tight, but it's the unflinching depiction of a desperate world in post-war Berlin, conveyed in beautiful prose, that makes this thriller so powerful Sunday Mirror
Ben Fergusson is a writer, editor and translator. Born in Southampton in 1980, he studied English Literature at Warwick University and Modern Languages at Bristol University, and has worked for ten years as an editor and publisher in the art world. Currently based in London, his first novel, The Spring of Kasper Meier, was written during a four-year period living and working in Berlin.