After five years spent abroad building up a business as something of a private investigator, the handsome, stuttering Fandorin is back in Moscow―and in for a case that entangles him with the highest echelons of Romanov royalty.
Mr. Akunin’s idiosyncratic page-turner is stuffed with action and laced with humor. In certain ways, it is reminiscent of discursive Russian novels of the 19th century and the social-satirical suspense classics of Wilkie Collins. But comparisons cannot suffice for an author who is a virtuoso in his own right.
To the short but luminous list of fascinating fictional valets and butlers we must add a new entry. He is Afanasii Stepanovich Ziukin, the narrator of Boris Akunin’s zesty mystery novel ... The mystery is a good one, the villain meets the least-likely-suspect challenge flung down so often by Agatha Christie, and Andrew Bromfield translates Akunin with his customary brio ... s for Fandorin, the handsome, athletic, extraordinarily clever detective with a slight stutter, he dominates this, the seventh of his adventures to be published in the States, as he always does — with Sherlockian elan.