Archive for 'Akunin, Boris'
THE WINTER QUEEN is the first book in the Erast Fandorin series. Erast Fandorin is a 19 year old whose father lost the family fortune and then died, leaving Erast to make his own way in the world in Moscow in 1876. He has joined the police as a clerk and, while writing up reports, is intrigued by an account of an unusually showy suicide. The case is strange enough that his superior allows Erast to look into it.
Erast is a young man with a lot to learn, but he is intelligent and realizes that several unusual events are connected. The young police clerk learns questioning and investigative techniques by trial and error as he travels around Moscow speaking to the persons involved in the strange happenings. He begins to uncover an international plot and pursues the conspirators across Europe. As the book unfolds, Erast becomes more adept and more respected by his superiors and those with whom he interacts. You begin to see that he has a promising future as a detective ahead of him.
THE WINTER QUEEN is a delightful read. Akunin is Russian and the book has a foreign flavor and philosophy. But it also has a very familiar feel. THE WINTER QUEEN reads very much like classic British mysteries written in the period between WWI and WWII. International conspiracies, spies, mysterious beautiful women, and perplexing clues were in vogue at the time and are a joy to revisit here.
Favorite character? It is wonderful to watch Erast Fandorin evolve in this book. Did I guess it? Yes. Will I read another? Absolutely. In addition to several other Fandorin books, Akunin has other detectives I will try out, too.
Mystery Book Reviews by Liz at http://reviewedbyliz.com ©2007
Murder on the Leviathan takes place on the maiden voyage of the ship Leviathan in 1878. All of the shipâ€™s senior officers and first class passengers have been given unique gold whale badges to commemorate the maiden voyage. But one of these pins was found clutched in the hand of a murdered man at a grisly crime scene shortly before sailing and Commissioner Gustave Gauche has come aboard the ship to unmask the murderer. Unfortunately, several of the passengers are missing their gold badges and none of them seem ready to confess.
Gauche arranges for all of his suspects to eat together on the ship and, as a group, they discuss and dissect the crimes committed on the evening in question. They quickly realize that more than murder happened that night â€“ something of great value was stolen from a collection of Indian artifacts. And someone on the ship has a great deal to lose if they are discovered. But between the determined Gauche and the surprising young diplomat with a stutter named Erast Fandorin, the answers are eventually uncovered.
Murder on the Leviathan was recommended to me by Peter Rozovsky. He writes the Detectives Beyond Borders blog, which features mysteries by authors from around the world. Akunin is one of the most widely read authors in Russia and several of his books have been translated into English. Frankly, I canâ€™t wait to read more. This is reminiscent of classic British mysteries â€“ everyone is confined together at a country house party and, together, the detective and the suspects tease out the solution to the mystery. In this case, Commissioner Gauche is assisted by an intriguing young diplomat named Erast Fandorin, who also appears in other Akunin mysteries.
Favorite character? Fandorin. Did I guess it? Parts. Will I read another? Yes. And I highly recommend this book to any classic mystery fans. It is a treat to find a new book in a favorite old style.
Mystery Book Reviews by Liz at http://reviewedbyliz.com Â©2007