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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.
Lots of fun -- a good story, well told and translated. Keep them coming!Published 23 days ago by Michael J. Parisi
I couldn't wait for this book to end. It felt like an interminable game of clue. Was it Col. Mustard in the library with the knife?Published 1 month ago by John Campbell
Improbable plot, improbable characters, flat writing ... a waste of time. I wish I could give it negative stars.Published 8 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 14 months ago by Amazon Customer
Erast Fandorin is once again investigating a murder. This time he is sailing on the Leviathan on its maiden voyage. Read morePublished 22 months ago by RE Krause
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 on January 10, 2013 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