Moscow, May 1876: What would cause a talented young student from a
wealthy family to shoot himself in front of a promenading public in
the Alexander Gardens? Decadence and boredom, most likely, is what
the commander of the Criminal Investigation Division of the Moscow
Police thinks, but still he finds it curious enough to send the
newest member of the division, Erast Fandorin, a young man of
irresistible charm, to the Alexander Gardens precinct for more
Fandorin is not satisfied with the conclusion that this is an
open-and-shut case, nor with the preliminary detective work the
precinct has done--and for good reason: The bizarre and tragic
suicide is soon connected to a clear case of murder, witnessed
firsthand by Fandorin. There are many unresolved questions. Why,
for instance, have both victims left their fortunes to an orphanage
run by the English Lady Astair? And who is the beautiful "A.B.,"
whose signed photograph is found in the apparent suicide's
apartment? Relying on his keen intuition, the eager sleuth plunges
into an investigation that leads him across Europe, landing him at
the deadly center of a terrorist conspiracy of worldwide
In this thrilling mystery that brings nineteenth-century Russia to
vivid life, Akunin has created one of the most eagerly anticipated
novels in years.
"From the Hardcover edition."
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