On 15 March 1878, Lord Littleby, an English eccentric and collector, is found murdered in his Paris house together with nine members of his staff. A gold whale in the victim's hand leads Erast Fandorin to board the Leviathan, the world's largest steamship, as the murderer is one of the 142 First Class passengers.
Paris, 1878: Eccentric antiquarian Lord Littleby and his ten servants are found murdered in Littleby's mansion on the rue de Grenelle, and a priceless Indian shawl is missing. Police commissioner "Papa" Gauche recovers only one piece of evidence from the crime scene: a golden key shaped like a whale. Gauche soon deduces that the key is in fact a ticket of passage for the Leviathan, a gigantic steamship soon to depart Southampton on its maiden voyage to Calcutta. The murderer must be among its passengers.
"The Second Book About Fandorin"