By Boris Akunin
"Those are revolver shots!" exclaimed Sir Reginald. "But where from?"I was half way through this book before I noticed it had a number 2 on the spine. It took me a few moments, but then I realised that this novel was the second book, written after the first Fandorin adventure, but it takes place, chronologically, after 'The Turkish Gambit', and I was reading the books chronologically, as they were presented on Wikipedia. Too make matters worse I forgot to take this book with me on holiday and so I ended up reading after the fourth book!
"The commissioners cabin!" Fandorin snapped, dashing for the door.
This story is written in the manner of an Agatha Christie mystery and consequently places me at a disadvantage as, although I've seen and enjoyed hundreds of television and cinematic adaptations of her work, I've never read any of Christie's books. I can't say therefore if this is a well done attempt at emulating her style or not. As a novel in its own right, its ...adequate, but I fear that I may have been missing the point due to my ignorance of Agatha Christie's style. The story seemed rather simplistic for example, but perhaps Agatha Christie's novels were rather simple...?
As a story then, this book only just squeezes past two stars. I saw the twist coming chapters ahead and was underwhelmed by the subsequent second twist. I thought the format of multiple perspectives was slightly annoying as it broke the flow of the story and the portrayal of Erast Fandorin was consequently too obscure to really mean much. I like my protagonists to be present. So far this has been the dullest of the series.