In Cairo, the ship is boarded by a young Russian diplomat with a shock of white hair, none other than Erast Fandorin, the celebrated detective of Boris Akunin's The Winter Queen. The sleuth joins forces with Gauche to determine which of ten unticketed passengers on the Leviathan is the rue de Grenelle killer.
Tipping his hat to Agatha Christie, Akunin assembles a colorful cast of suspects, including a secretive Japanese doctor, a professor who specializes in rare Indian artifacts, a pregnant Swiss woman, and an English aristocrat with an appetite for collecting Asian treasures, all of whom are confined together until the crime is solved. As the Leviathan steams toward Calcutta, will Fandorin be able to out-investigate Gauche and discover who the killer is, even as the ship's passengers are murdered, one by one?
©1998 Boris Akunin; (P)2004 Books on Tape
"Akunin writes like a hybrid of Caleb Carr, Agatha Christie, and Elizabeth Peters....The atmospheric historical detail gives depth to the twisting plot." (Publishers Weekly)
"Murder on the Leviathan casts a crafty puzzle in a sophisticated setting....Akunin's dry observations on the moral poverty of the upper classes are drolly set off by his lush descriptions of the material luxuries by which they measure the value of life itself." (The New York Times Book Review)
After his adventures described in "the Winter Queen," young Russian diplomat travels to Japan on board of Leviathan, where a series of unfortunate and mysterious events take place. The setting of the novel somewhat reminds Agatha's stories, but Akunin's book offers more than a thrilling mystery: the language is truly exquisite, and the translation into English did not ruin it. I have read the book in Russian and listened to it in English, and loved the both versions. I just wish more books from the series about Erast Fandorin were available in English, and I certainly will continue to look for them.
Well read and well written...harkening back to those thrilling days of yester year. The reader is pitch perfect for the tale that far outdistances dear Agatha.
This is the second in the series and should be read only AFTER Winter Quenn is consumed.
Not an easy book to listen to - the narrator is excellent but the novel is a little convoluted. There are chapters 'written' by the characters. I liked it but - but less than I did WQ.
I'm a mystery fan, especially of the classic British or European variety (Agatha Cristie, Simenon, etc.) and thought I would enjoy this book. I was unable to finish it; the characters, plot, and dialog were so simplistic and unbelievable and dull that I couldn't stand it. The reader was good and did the best he could with the material given.
This one is not as good as The Winter Queen, but one does want to know what becomes of Fandorin. It is entertaining, and the mystery I thought wasn't as easy to solve.
Books have always been an escape for me: initially from my studies, now from too much work. A good story is my favorite remedy.
If you're someone who can appreciate an old, drawing room-style mystery, this one will not disappoint. It has all the usual tropes -- diverse group of individuals with their own secrets, all trapped on a ship, suspicious with one another -- but is elevated about the "same old thing" with the great narration by Michael Kramer, who is fast becoming one of my favorite readers on Audible.
Characters named "Gauche" and "Sangfroid" are a nice tongue-in-cheek addition to the increasingly complex mystery.
I have heard Mr. Kramer in other works -- Mike Carey's Felix Castor series, and Thomas Perry's Butcher Boy series -- and yet he still impresses me with his cadence and facility with accents (which was of particular importance in this book with multiple key players). I'm sure that all readers have their own tastes when it comes to those who read our stories, but I must say that Mr. Kramer is among my favorites.
Buy it for the by-gone story; stick with it for the storyteller.
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