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Sunday, April 01, 2012

Boris Akunin

Boris Akunin is the pen-name of Russian author Grigory Chkhartishvili, used on various series of detective novels, some of which have proven quite popular in translation — certainly in the UK, where his Erast Fandorin and Sister Pelagia novels have been appearing for some years.

I picked up the first couple of Erash Fandorin novels out of curiosity. The first had been short-listed for a Silver Daggar Award by the Crime Writers' Association and I spotted the first two in a charity shop a couple of years ago. I only read them recently and have sought out the others, although I'm still a few missing. There have been thirteen Fandorin novels, two of them novella-length and published in the UK in a single volume (Special Assignments). At least eleven of the stories have been translated (although in ten volumes).

What I enjoyed about the two I've read is the playing with genres. Although they are historical mysteries set in Russia, The Winter Queen is like a James Bond novel and Murder on the Leviathan a Golden Age mystery with an enclosed setting, in this case a the world's largest steamship — but think Death on the Nile by Agatha Christie and you won't be far wrong. The third, which I'll hopefully get around to reading soon, seems to have elements of George Macdonald Fraser. They're well worth seeking out.

The Winter Queen (Weidenfeld & Nicholson, 2003)
Phoenix 0753-81759-4, Mar 2004.

Murder on the Leviathan (as Leviathan, Weidenfeld & Nicholson, Apr 2004)
Phoenix 0753-81843-4, 2004.

The Turkish Gambit (Weidenfeld & Nicholson, 2004)
Phoenix 0753-81999-6, Oct 2005.

The Death of Achilles (Weidenfeld & Nicholson, 2005)
Weidenfeld & Nicholson 0297-84815-1, 2005. [t/pb]
Phoenix 0753-82097-8, Aug 2006.

Special Assignments (Weidenfeld & Nicholson, 2007)
(contains The Jack of Spades and The Decorator)
Phoenix 0753-82348-9, Jan 2008.

The State Counsellor (Weidenfeld & Nicholson, Jan 2008)
Phoenix 0753-82642-9, Jan 2009.

The Coronation (Weidenfeld & Nicholson, 2009)
Phoenix  0753-82696-8, Mar 2010.

She Lover of Death (Weidenfeld & Nicholson, Oct 2009)

Phoenix 0753-82721-2, Sep 2010.

He Lover of Death (Weidenfeld & Nicholson, Sep 2010)
Weidenfeld & Nicholson 0297-8606508, Sep 2010. [t/pb]
Phoenix 0753-82806-5, Oct 2011.

The Diamond Chariot (Weidenfeld & Nicholson, Sep 2011)
Phoenix 0753-82819-7, Sep 2012.

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