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Kaminsky must have had fun cooking up the plotlines, which ingeniously plunder the storage bins of mystery history. There's everything from a Jane the Ripper to homages to train-bound thrillers like The Lady Vanishes, North by Northwest, and the more obvious Murder on the Orient Express. At the same time, there's the conscious, skillfully presented element of social realism, an aspect that never intruded into the action of any of those tales. Kaminsky is wonderfully artful at conveying the pervasive cynicism that comes with the territory at all strata of existence in the former Soviet Union, and he does it without ever being repetitious. At an organic level, it seeps into and informs every level of the mystery as it unfolds.
One must marvel at the manipulations of the political and legal systems engaged in by Chief Inspector Rostnikov and his dedicated colleagues as they endeavor to deliver the semblance of a not-always-welcome law and order. To top it off, there are some terrific set-piece scenes, such as when the policeman Zelach reveals his unexpected familiarity with heavy-metal arcana as he and his partner interrogate some punks about a missing pal.
Kaminsky won the Edgar Allan Poe award in 1989 for the Rostnikov mystery A Cold Red Sunrise. Reading Murder on the Trans-Siberian Express, it's not hard to understand why, only difficult to know how he keeps the series' quality so high. --Otto Penzler
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
I have never read anything by Kaminsky and solely on the basis of reader reviews, I tried this one. Alas, 'twas a fizzle. Mildly interesting but basically fluff. Read morePublished on Oct. 31 2002 by Sonechka
In my humble opinion the Porfiry Rostnikov mystery series is the best one going. It rivals Martin Cruz Smith's Gorky Park for a realistic portrayal of Russia. Read morePublished on Jan. 7 2002 by Dave Schwinghammer
In Russia, the concept of law and justice has been shaken. Mafias rule towns and even regions, powerful men battle for even more power, and the ghosts of the Soviet and Imperial... Read morePublished on Dec 28 2001 by booksforabuck
In modern Russia the law is written by Kafka & Chief Inspector Porfiry Rostnikov of the Moscow Police who must unravel the abduction of a skinhead rock star known as The Naked... Read morePublished on Dec 5 2001 by Rebecca Brown