She Lover of Death: A Fandorin Mystery by Boris Akunin
From Boris Akunin, the writer who invented the popular Russian crime novel, comes She Lover of Death: A Fandorin Mystery, a gripping tale of a secret suicide society in turn-of-the-century Moscow featuring a naïve young protagonist and the inimitable hero Erast Fandorin.
Naive young Masha Mironova arrives in Moscow at the turn of the century with a modest inheritance and a determination to shed her provincial Siberian upbringing. As soon as she alights in Moscow, she becomes Columbine, a reckless and daring young woman with eccentric outfits and a pet snake worn as a necklace. In her quest for danger and passion, Columbine soon discovers the Lovers of Death–a small group of poets enraptured by death who gather nightly at the home of their leader, the Doge, and conduct séances to determine death’s next chosen lover. Once named at a séance, the chosen member must await three signs from death before taking his own life. The string of suicides resulting from the group have drawn attention, becoming fodder for extensive media coverage and widespread hysteria in Moscow. As the group’s numbers dwindle, a mysterious newcomer appears. Revealed to the reader as Erast Fandorin thanks to the presence of his trusty Japanese sidekick, Fandorin begins to investigate the suicides while also trying to convince the members that death is neither beautiful nor poetic and should not be sought out.
But will the gentleman detective be able to stop Columbine from taking action when she receives her three unmistakable signs? She Lover of Death is a fantastically entertaining murder mystery, where the murderer’s weapons are trickery and psychological manipulation.
Praise for She Lover of Death: A Fandorin Mystery
“Akunin continues to notch the most consistently varied approaches to the adventures of the Great Detective on record.”–Kirkus Reviews
“Akunin (the pen name for Russian-born essayist and critic Grigory Chkhartishvili) adds interest and texture here with multiple narrators, but it’s the witty Fandorin who shines.”–Booklist
“Akunin’s novels are a fascinating mixture of pathos and pastiche; his characters are larger than life but never absurd…[She Lover of Death] is as ingenious as the earlier Fandorin novels, and full of clever and unexpected twists.”–Sunday Times
“Akunin is not out to achieve verisimilitude. What he delivers is an absurdly imaginative story, surreal and comic. His characters are outrageous and thoroughly unbelievable. Fandorin is an impossibly heroic figure. The combination is irresistible.”–Times(UK)