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Following the 1878 murders of British aristocrat Lord Littleby and his servants on Paris's fashionable Rue de Grenelle, Gustave Gauche, "Investigator for Especially Important Crimes," boards the double-engined, six-masted Leviathan on its maiden voyage from England to India. He's on the lookout for first-class passengers missing their specially made gold whale badges--one of which Littleby had yanked from his attacker before he died. However, this trap fails: several travelers are badgeless, and still others make equally good candidates for Littleby's slayer, including a demented baronet, a dubious Japanese army officer, a pregnant and loquacious Swiss banker's wife, and a suave Russian diplomat headed for Japan. That last is of course Fandorin, still recovering two years later from the events related in The Winter Queen. Like a lesser Hercule Poirot, "papa" Gauche grills these suspects, all of whom harbor secrets, and occasionally lays blame for Paris's "crime of the century" before one or another of them--only to have the hyper-perceptive Fandorin deflate his arguments. It takes many leagues of ocean, several more deaths, and a superfluity of overlong recollections by the shipmates before a solution to this twisted case emerges from the facts of Littleby's killing and the concurrent theft of a valuable Indian artifact from his mansion.
Like the best Golden Age nautical mysteries, Murder on the Leviathan finds its drama in the escalating tensions between a small circle of too-tight-quartered passengers, and draws its humor from their over-mannered behavior and individual eccentricities. Trouble is, Akunin (the pseudonym of Russian philologist Grigory Chkhartishvili) doesn't exceed expectations of what can be done within those traditions. --J. Kingston Pierce --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
I look forward to more titles from the same author being translated.
The story itself is very clever and will keep you guessing as to who is the 'main' villian, who are the accomplises and who are the dupes.
I loved the exotic characters, the Belle Epoque atmosphere and the language, both descriptive and spoken.
Improbable plot, improbable characters, flat writing ... a waste of time. I wish I could give it negative stars.Published 2 months ago by Thomas F. Masloski
I like very much this writer. His books gives a lot of insights about the period of time and places where the main character deals. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Amazon Customer
Boris Akunin is a wonderful writer and this was a great read, funny and intriguing. I would recommend this to anyone who likes upmarket crime - really the best in this genre -... Read morePublished 23 months ago by Patrizia
I had mixed feelings about this mystery, written by the bestselling Russian author Boris Akunin. Set on a great ship going through the Suez Canal, this is a mystery in which the... Read morePublished on September 29, 2012 by S. Smith-Peter
This Agathie Christie-like novel is most delightful, with its Victorian characters and its murders most foul. Read morePublished on August 29, 2012 by zorba
Am mad about Boris Akunin, the author. I first read Winter Queen which starts with Fandorian's story. Read morePublished on August 9, 2012 by John Manjiro
The 1878 Paris murder of English Lord Littleby was particularly heinous, resulting in not only his death, but also the strange deaths of seven members of his household staff, and... Read morePublished on March 4, 2012 by S. M. Grigsby
Diverting entry in an ongoing series. Erast Fandorin is a charming, nineteenth-century Russian James Bond-if-he-was-fathered-by-Nero-Wolfe sleuth trapped on board a huge new luxury... Read morePublished on February 2, 2011 by Richard Derus
Boris Akunin is quickly becoming one of my favorite writers in the area of what can best be described as Classical Mysteries; old school who done its. Read morePublished on October 29, 2010 by D. Blankenship