Thursday, September 08, 2011
By Boris Akunin
Erast Fandorin is off again, this time in two shorter stories, gathered together into one book. Both stories follow the perspective of Anisii Tulipov whom Fandorin, now a powerfully well connected man, adopts as his assistant. This works well as Tulipov, shy, flawed but enthusastic, is an easy character to engage with. Certainly easier than the paragon of all virtue Fandorin.
The first story concerns a cheeky fraudster whose tricks cause Fandorin a measure of proffessional discomfort. The tale is rather humourous, but never really breaks into being funny. Nor does it provide much mystery if any as, as is often the case with Akunin, the culprit is not hidden but explored. This means the only real mystery is how Fandorin solves the case, and what will happen at the inevitable outcome.
The second story is some what better, and far more gruesome. It features no lesser a character than Jack the Ripper, whom it transpires was a Russian and who was never caught in London because he returned to Russia, where he ran up against Erast Fandorin. Thankfully the identity of the killer was obscured (I barked right up the wrong tree) so the mystery and the suspense remained intact. Of the two, I liked this story better.