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Publisher's Summary

What would cause a talented young student from a wealthy family to shoot himself in the Alexander Gardens in front of a promenading public? Perhaps it might be the ennui and decadence so popular in France and now migrating over to the upper classes of Russia. The chief of the Criminal Investigations Division of the Moscow Police certainly thinks so, and paradoxically puts his newest recruit, Erast Fandorin, on the case. Fandorin is a young man of irresistible charm, considerable naivete, and a penchant for inadvertently stumbling on the right answer. In his hands, the matter proves not to be an open-and-shut case of suicide, but a phenomenon that will repeat itself again. Before this case is over, this promising young man will have gone far.
©2003 Boris Akunin; (P)2003 Books on Tape, Inc.
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Critic Reviews

"Akunin effectively juxtaposes the comical innocence of his hero against the decadence of nineteenth-century Moscow." (Booklist)
"The Russian Ian Fleming...Akunin's accomplished writing is a treat." (The Sunday Times)
"Mystery readers should enjoy this story....A crafty tale full of atmosphere, character, and action." (Anne Perry)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By Svetlana on 06-24-04

Sometime after Anna Korenina

I have read this book in Russian, watch the Russian movie, and now listened to it in English. I am very impressed with the translation, and with the reading as well.
For those who is in doubt: This book, called ?Azazel? in Russian, starts the series of wonderfully written detective stories taking place in Russia sometime after Anna Korenina and before the Revolution. The style is superb, the plot is intriguing; this book (and the series that followed) is one of the best things that happened to the contemporary Russian literature.
Currently, only two books of this series are translated into English (as far as I know): the Winter Queen and Murder on the Leviathan.

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22 of 22 people found this review helpful


By Anne on 02-16-07

Fun

I gave this entry four stars because the narrator did such an excellent job. The story is fun, though rather silly. It is very Russian, very melodramatic, almost a parody. The mystery is of the 19th, early 20th century serial variety, with the hero narrowly escaping death every other chapter or so. For plot and characters, I would give the book no more than 3 stars. Still, given the excellent reader, I will probably get the sequel. Maybe our hero grows up some.

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7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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