As a founder member of Mystery Women in 1997, promoting Crime Fiction has always been my passion.
Following the closure of Mystery Women, a new group was formed on 30th January 2012 promoting crime fiction.
New reviews are posted daily, but to search for earlier reviews please click on the Mystery People link below and select 'reviews' from the welcome page. This will display an alphabetic option for you to find the review you would like to read
For PREVIOUS REVIEWS- Click on MYSTERY PEOPLE below -
Published by Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 5 October 2017. ISBN:
It is 1911 and Erast Petravich Fandorin, among other
things, is a private investigator and lives in Moscow. He receives a telephone
call from Olga, the widow of Chekhov, an actress and old friend of Fandorin.
She is concerned about her fellow actress and friend Eliza who when she last
saw her burst into floods of tears but wouldn't tell her what was wrong. She
begs Fandorin to see if he can find out the problem, he reluctantly agrees and
goes to the new theatre where Eliza is performing that evening.
As Fandorin watches Eliza on stage
he falls desperately in love with her. Then to his horror as the play ends
there is an incident which if it had not been for the quick action of Nonarikin
a member of the cast, could have caused her serious injury or even cost her her
Fandorin starts with his
investigations by meeting all the cast, the manager of the theatre, Noah Stern
and their benefactor Andrei Shustrov. He becomes aware of an undercurrent
within the theatre, the cast seem jealous of each other and all seem to think
they should have the leading parts.
Desperate to get Eliza to take an
interest in him, Fandorin takes his servant Masa's advice and writes a play
especially for her. It is a great success and she falls for Fandorin but keeps
her feelings hidden.
Unknown to him, Eliza's estranged
husband Iskander has threatened her not to take any lovers or even admirers, if
she does he says it will be her fault if something happens to them.When one is found dead the police think it is
suicide but Eliza is convinced it is murder, so she is determined not to let
Fandorin know how she feels about him, she fears for his life and even for her
When more deaths occur the police
are convinced they are all suicides but Fandorin believes otherwise and is
determined to find the truth.Of course
he has no idea of the threats to Eliza and is puzzled as to the connection of
the deaths, could they be suicides after all? When the theatre itself is
threatened, all becomes clear. However his hardest task is to win over Eliza's
love, he really is desperate, does he stand a chance, will there be a happy
Although there are a number of
deaths in the book I would still describe it as a lovely “gentle” story. Akunin
has a wonderful way of describing emotions and I could feel poor Fandorin's
pain when Eliza rejects him. The solving of the deaths is almost secondary to
the real trauma Fandorin goes through.
At the end of the book is the play
he writes for Eliza, well worth reading too.
Recommended for those who enjoy a
crime story without the gore!
Reviewer: Tricia Chappell
Akunin is the pen name of Grigory
Shalvovich Chkhartishvili, a Russian writer of Georgian origin. He was born 20
May 1956. He is best known as writer of detective and historical fiction. His
Erast Fandorin books have sold over 18 million copies in Russia alone. He lives
Tricia Chappell. I have a
great love of books and reading, especially crime and thrillers. I play the
occasional game of golf (when I am not reading). My great love is
cruising especially to far flung places, when there are long days at sea for
plenty more reading! I am really enjoying reviewing books and have found lots
of great new authors.