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The Winter Queen (Erast Fandorin, Bk 1)
The Winter Queen - Erast Fandorin, Bk 1
Author: Boris Akunin, Andrew Bromfield (Translator)
Moscow, May 1876. What would cause a talented student from a wealthy family to shoot himself in front of a promenading public? Decadence and boredom, it is presumed. But young sleuth Erast Fandorin is not satisfied with the conclusion that this death is an open-and-shut case, nor with the preliminary detective work the precinct has done -- and f...  more »
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ISBN-13: 9780812968774
ISBN-10: 0812968778
Publication Date: 3/9/2004
Pages: 250
  • Currently 3.4/5 Stars.

3.4 stars, based on 72 ratings
Publisher: Random House
Book Type: Paperback
Other Versions: Hardcover
Reviews: Member | Amazon | Write a Review

Top Member Book Reviews

reviewed The Winter Queen (Erast Fandorin, Bk 1) on + 28 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 6
Great fun: lots of twists and turns in the plot and also lots of atmosphere ( Moscow in the late 1800's).
reviewed The Winter Queen (Erast Fandorin, Bk 1) on + 77 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 5
So glad to have discovered Akunin, and this is my favorite of the three I've read thus far. The pre-Revolutionary Russia is refreshing and Victorian, so to speak, the character of Fandorin fascinating, and the mystery/adventure convoluted and intelligent. Delightful.
reviewed The Winter Queen (Erast Fandorin, Bk 1) on + 7 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
The Book Report: Young, orphaned Erast Fandorin has landed a comparatively cushy job for one whose comfortable future in czarist Russia was snatched away by the machinations of capitalists, beggaring and causing the suicide of his father: Erast is a fourteenth-class state functionary, serving a police official as amanuensis and errand-boy. It leads him into some odd alleyways, serving his about-to-retire master; his wit, his proficiency with language, his unquenchable curiosity lead his boss to allow, amused and indulgent of his junior's silly fascination with nothing criminal, Erast to investigate some odd goings-on among Moscow's Bright Young Things, including the suicide of a youth whose estate, over a million rubles, is left to elderly English philanthropist Baroness Adair.

That one fact, that odd itchy ill-fitting wool sock of a fact, unravels an international conspiracy touching every government in the world, though it is unclear that this conspiracy has any evil intent, at least to me. Erast, extremely young and naive at the outset of the book, ends it extremely young, concussed, and in no possible sense naive and inexperienced any more. How that comes about is a page-turning pleasure to read.

My Review: For once, I am glad I read the second book in the series before the first. I felt much more like I was investing my time wisely after reading Turkish Gambit than I might have had I read this book first. It's good, don't mistake me, but it's not as good as "Gambit" and it's not as clear and succinct, either.

But good golly Miss Molly, it's a ripping good read full of explosions, betrayals, and general all-around wickedness and sneakiness. It's got young love, it's got hopeless infatuation, it's got comradeship and affection, and even a *very* memorable wedding scene. I am completely entranced with its picture of czarist Russia; I am excited to discover the roots of some of Erast's oddities; and I hanker to see these books turned into movies or TV shows, like Montalbano has been. I really feel I can SEE the action as I'm reading, and that's usually so much less of an issue for me; but this series is supremely visual.

Read, and enjoy, and don't fear the commitment of time a new series requires, because like Rutledge, like Montalbano, there are a lot of 'em and they get better as time goes by.
Minehava avatar reviewed The Winter Queen (Erast Fandorin, Bk 1) on + 817 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
Three million copies of Akunin's Erast Fandorin historical mystery series have been sold in Russia, where the author is a celebrity. This volume--the first of nine installments so far--should get the series off to a rousing start in the U.S. It's set in Czarist Russia and stars the naive but eager Fandorin as a young investigator with the Moscow police. Why would a university student shoot himself in the middle of the Alexander Gardens? Fandorin sets out to find the answer and soon lands in the middle of a far-reaching international conspiracy. Yakunin effectively juxtaposes the comical innocence of his hero against the decadence of nineteenth-century Moscow--aristocrats idling in gambling clubs while the winds of revolution freshen. In his debut, Fandorin comes across as an odd but appealing mix of Holmesian brilliance and Inspector Clousseauian bumbling. Occasionally, Akunin's style seems a bit affected, aping the manner of, say, Thackeray, commenting on the foibles of his characters, but at the same time, that nineteenth-century tone is part of the book's appeal. Anne Perry fans, in particular, will enjoy this series.
ASJ avatar reviewed The Winter Queen (Erast Fandorin, Bk 1) on + 341 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
If you enjoy historical mysteries set in different time periods and different lands you will enjoy this book. Set in Russia. Takes a little while to get going but the plot is good.
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reviewed The Winter Queen (Erast Fandorin, Bk 1) on + 8 more book reviews
With this first book in the series you're introduced to an interesting and unusual detective. Erast Fandorin has his quirks which ebb and flow in different ways in the succeeding books. This particular book is a wide-ranging tale both geographically and how the Winter Queen operates. This book has made me continue with the series.
reviewed The Winter Queen (Erast Fandorin, Bk 1) on + 380 more book reviews
I enjoyed this book. I rate it a 3.5. The plot is intricate and engaging and involves some interesting characters and plot developments. The Erast Fandorin character is not as well-developed or as confident, especially in the beginning of the book, as he will become by The Coronation, so it is interesting to see the growth of the character.

The ending is certainly a shocker. This is first of a series, and as it is part of a series and not a trilogy, it does not leave you hanging sso that you must read on to finish the story line. I like series but not trilogys.

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