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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. Bill Ott
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“Mystery readers should enjoy this story. It is as Russian, and as international, as caviar and vodka! A crafty tale full of atmosphere, character, and action. I look forward to hearing more about the young detective Erast Fandorin.”–Anne Perry
“Elaborate, intricate, profoundly Czarist, and Russian to its bones, as though Tolstoy had sat down to write a murder mystery and came out with The Winter Queen. A wondrous strange and appealing novel, and not quite like anything you’ve read before.”–Alan Furst
"Atmospheric and engrossing, The Winter Queen is a historical thriller from the world of the czar. Boris Akunin is Russia's answer to Caleb Carr." -Kevin Baker
THE WINTER QUEEN is an interesting journey into Czarist Russia. Well written and almost lyrical at times, with a great sense of humor and adventure. Read morePublished on March 4 2012 by James A. Anderson
Akunin's "Winter Queen" is a wonderful addition to the mystery genre. We meet Erast Fandorin in 1876 Moscow, as he attempts to solve a mysterious suicide. Read morePublished on June 1 2004 by Peter LaPrade
This is the first in Boris Akunin's series of novels featuring the detective Erast Fandorin in 1870s Czarist Moscow that has been the rage of Russia in recent years, and it is a... Read morePublished on May 18 2004 by Jay Dickson
"The Winter Queen" by Boris Akunin is set in 1876, Czarist Russia, and introduced me
to Erast Fandorin, the author's young investigator with the Moscow police. Read more
Akunin's historical mystery series is hugely popular in his native Russia and spans about ten books, the first of which is this one. Read morePublished on May 9 2004 by A. Ross
Having read all of the original Fandorin novels, I was a bit skeptical about the first installment translated into English. Read morePublished on May 9 2004 by Borisovich
Despite some interesting characters and occasionally rich and lovely language, this book was irretrieveably brought down by a frankly silly plot. Read morePublished on May 8 2004 by N. Quast