cover image The State Counsellor: A Fandorin Mystery

The State Counsellor: A Fandorin Mystery

Boris Akunin, trans. from the Russian by Andrew Bromfield. Mysterious, $25 (304p) ISBN 978-0-8021-2654-2

Set in 1891, Akunin’s delightfully convoluted sixth Fandorin mystery (after 2008’s Special Assignments) brings to life the internecine squabbles among Moscow’s multiple police forces as well as the nihilist revolutionaries whom they seek to foil. During a blizzard outside Moscow, Adjutant General Khrapov, governor general of Siberia, is murdered by a man claiming to be State Counsellor Erast Fandorin. The real Fandorin, who’s quickly exonerated, is keen to find the impostor, a member of the Combat Group, a dangerous revolutionary organization. Only a few men, all police officials in some capacity, apparently had knowledge of the arrangements for Khrapov’s transportation and protection. To further complicate matters, the czar’s own deputy director of police arrives from St. Petersburg to take the reins of the investigation. Akunin’s descriptions of characters’ appearances and temperaments, as well as the time period, call to mind Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes adventures. Narrative sleights of hand and copious red herrings will keep readers guessing until the end. Agent: Ann Rittenberg, Ann Rittenberg Literary Agency. (July)