. . This is the first book of a very popular Russian series which brought fame to its author Boris Akunin real name Grigory Chkhartishvili Boris Akunin considers mystery genre to consist of several sub genres his own classification he wrote each book of the series in each sub genre conspiracy, spy, political, Agatha Christie type, etc In the first book we are presented with a conspiracy mystery.The main hero of the series is Erast Fandorin a young man in 19th century Russian Empire the first book takes place in 1876 A talented student from a wealthy family shot himself in a broad daylight which seems to be the obvious case of a suicide resulting from trivial reasons, but our hero is not satisfied with this conclusion He starts digging deeper and eventually stumbles upon a vast conspiracy.The book gives a depiction of Russian Empire at the turn of 19th century I found the historical background to be excellent and Moscow feels really alive As a mystery novel is fails on several accounts A hero of a detective series can make it or break it Consider the most famous detectives Sherlock Holmes, Hercule Poirot, Nero Wolfe, and others All of them have very interesting and bright personalities Erast Fandorin falls flat for me.He is not that smart to begin with and he usually solves the mystery right after the solution practically jumps into his face but I really need to cut him some slack here as this is his first case So what does he have going for him He is incredibly lucky quite often an assassin sent to dispatch him stumbles in the very last moment, something falls on his her head and so on His luck extends to gambling he never loses a game of cards or dice To me this looks like a cheap trick to make up for his deficiency in grey cells area.Conclusion 2 stars for mystery, 4 stars for historical background which makes up for 3 stars overall This review is a copy paste on my BookLikes one This is a brilliant book The plot is clever and full of those no way moments that I love in mysteries I laughed out loud than once Fandorin is such a silly and unassuming hero, and his use of the male corset was absolutely divine I did see a few things coming but the writing was such fun to read, that it didn t spoil the book for me.I appreciate it as a work of Russian literature excellently translated of course, the ending was incredibly Russian we can t have things be TOO happy, can we , as well as the banter between characters about famous Russian novelists and poets even reciting some Russian poetry I liked getting a feel for Russia and Europe during the late 19th century and how different detective work stretching across nations must ve been before the telephone and internet This book was a pleasure on many different levels, I d read Akunin again. Absolutely and totally fun novel, reminiscent of those old cliffhanger series things I would recommend this book to readers who like what I would call literary mysteries, rather than the fast food type of reads although, I must say, some of the ffrs fast food reads are pretty good so I m not slamming them I have read hundreds in my time Anyway, this one demands a little of your patience time, but you will be rewarded in the long run brief plot review w o spoilersSet in Moscow in the czarist Russia of 1876, the novel opens with a young man a student named Kokorin standing in front of a bench in a square full of people The man takes out a revolver, puts it up to his head, and informs a young girl sitting there with her governess that unless she kisses him, he s going to blow his brains out She doesn t and he does Of course, the police are called in, and it turns out that on that same day, there were other public suicide attempts, all using the same method, all over town The police are left baffled, but one enterprising young man, Erast Fandorin, sees that there must be under the surface Erast is just a newbie in the police department, but he is sharp What follows keeps Erast on the edge of danger, and leads to a crime so vast it spills out of Russia s borders.I could say , but I d wreck the story and I HATE when people do that Considering that this is the first in a series, the main character comes off very strong, enough to where I found myself rooting for him the entire way You might agree with some reviewers that it s a stretch to believe that a relative newbie to the police department would be the one to be put on this case, and that a joe nobody would rise up so quickly, but heyit s fiction No one says this must be believable And it s a fun story.
Boris Akunin is actually a pen name of Grigory Chkhartishvili bless you , according to the About the Author section in the back Akunin is Japanese for villain , a rather fitting pen surname for someone who is apparently legendary in Russia for his crime novels The Winter Queen is one of three mysteries featuring the detective Erast Fandorin I understand all three of them were made into big Russian blockbuster movies I think I might like the better movie I m just sayin This particular story is being remade into an English film coming out next year Thank god for Wikipedia for those of us who live under rocks.Akunin has the opportunity to create a really awesome detective, a Russian James Bond, if you will yet I found Fandorin to be rather a wiener He s a 20 year old detective, still wet around the ears, who uncovers a plot for world domination In Moscow, 1876 The concept seems pretty awesome, but my literary planets were clearly not aligned and I found myself mentally snoozing most of the way through this Which is sort of a hard feat if it s meant to be a conspiracy novel I expect these sorts of books to grab me from the beginning, shake me like a dog toy, and not let go until the end, when my proverbial neck is broken.I might check out the other two Fandorin novels I want to like this guy because he s Russian, but I m wondering if maybe I have a problem with contemporary Russian authors ugh, Victor Pelevin and may just need to stick to the classic Russian writers who had to write to save their lives.I wouldn t tell others to not read this book I think a lot of people probably like it Hell, all of Russia can not be wrong They love this guy there, so I figure the fault is on my own side So knock yourself out, and I promise to someday no rush check out another book by him In the meantime someone needs to recommend a contemporary Russian author who isn t crap. For the first half of this book, I was of the opinion that this was an ok crime thriller, but one like a few others I have read which felt a bit thin Some historical crime thrillers feel to me a bit like once the well researched chosen cultural and chronological aspects are stripped away, you re not left with much except a simple story dressed up in unusual words This had some strange names and social ranks, and the story set up in a fairly likeable way, the first half was fairly enjoyable.But the second half, especially the final twist s , was just silly The repetitive superhuman and seemingly psychic qualities of the central character just got unbelievable, yet his blundering stupidity to get into the scrapes he then extracted himself from in amazing manner this was ridiculous too There wasn t much wrong with the writing and much of the characterisation, but the plot was just daft Meh I read the last hundred pages quickly, rolling my eyes at the multiple sillinesses. .