So glad to have discovered Akunin, and this is my favorite of the three I've read thus far. The pre-Revolutionary Russia is refreshing and Victorian, so to speak, the character of Fandorin fascinating, and the mystery/adventure convoluted and intelligent. Delightful.
Three million copies of Akunin's Erast Fandorin historical mystery series have been sold in Russia, where the author is a celebrity. This volume--the first of nine installments so far--should get the series off to a rousing start in the U.S. It's set in Czarist Russia and stars the naive but eager Fandorin as a young investigator with the Moscow police. Why would a university student shoot himself in the middle of the Alexander Gardens? Fandorin sets out to find the answer and soon lands in the middle of a far-reaching international conspiracy. Yakunin effectively juxtaposes the comical innocence of his hero against the decadence of nineteenth-century Moscow--aristocrats idling in gambling clubs while the winds of revolution freshen. In his debut, Fandorin comes across as an odd but appealing mix of Holmesian brilliance and Inspector Clousseauian bumbling. Occasionally, Akunin's style seems a bit affected, aping the manner of, say, Thackeray, commenting on the foibles of his characters, but at the same time, that nineteenth-century tone is part of the book's appeal. Anne Perry fans, in particular, will enjoy this series.
What a read! Loved it! This is a book that keeps you wondering what will happen next. The hero, Erast Fandorin, is young, charming, bright and dedicated to solving crime. The tale begins with the suicide of a talented young student from a wealthy family. From there the plot twists and turns as Erast does not believe that the death is as simple as it seems. His investigation leads him to many cities and many places as he investigates the suicide. He meets many people including the beautiful Amalia Kazimirovna who seems to be the center of a group responsible for the young man's death but the plot is not so simple. As it unfolds one begins to wonder if young Erast can survive this investigation. A most exciting read!
With this first book in the series you're introduced to an interesting and unusual detective. Erast Fandorin has his quirks which ebb and flow in different ways in the succeeding books. This particular book is a wide-ranging tale both geographically and how the Winter Queen operates. This book has made me continue with the series.
I enjoyed this first book in the Erast Fandorin series. I liked how Fandorin noticed inconsistencies and how he interacted with his boss and with the suspects. I look forward to reading the next book in the series, The Turkish Gambit.