cover image The Coronation: A Fandorin Mystery

The Coronation: A Fandorin Mystery

Boris Akunin, trans. from the Russian by Andrew Bromfield. Mysterious, $26 (368p) ISBN 978-0-8021-2781-5

Set in 1896, Akunin’s excellent seventh Fandorin mystery (after The State Counsellor) finds the brilliant investigator back in Moscow just in time to prevent some thugs from abducting Xenia Georgievna, the daughter of Georgii Alexandrovich, the uncle of Nicholas II, who’s soon to be crowned as tsar. Fandorin is later stunned to learn that Xenia’s brother, Prince Mikhail Georgievich, was snatched while she was being rescued. He suspects a Moriarty-like criminal mastermind known only as Dr. Lind. His theory is confirmed when the Russian royal family receives a letter from Lind, who demands the Orlov diamond, which adorns the imperial scepter and is an essential part of the coronation ceremony, in exchange for Mikhail’s safe return. Fandorin, aided by a loyal family retainer, Afanasii Ziukin, races to retrieve Mikhail, in an effort to avoid giving up the valuable gemstone. Akunin keeps the action fast-paced, and the logical twists head-spinning, without sacrificing humor or depth of characterization. [em](Feb.) [/em]