Erast Fandorin

The Winter Queen

A Novel

Publisher: Random House Trade Paperbacks
Moscow, May 1876. What would cause a talented student from a wealthy family to shoot himself in front of a promenading public? Decadence and boredom, it is presumed. But young sleuth Erast Fandorin is not satisfied with the conclusion that this death 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 himself. Relying on his keen intuition, the eager detective plunges into an investigation that leads him across Europe, landing him at the center of a vast conspiracy with the deadliest of implications.

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Chapter One

in which an account is rendered of a certain cynical escapade

On Monday the fifteenth of May in the year 1876, between the hours of two and three in the afternoon on a day that combined the freshness of spring with the warmth of summer, numerous individuals in Moscow’s Alexander...
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READING GUIDE

1. Confronted by an epidemic of suicides amongst his young countrymen, Erast Fandorin tells the highly experienced detective Xavier Grushin that “The very best of the educated young people are simply giving up on life—they’re suffocated by a lack of spiritual oxygen.” Explain the tension between...

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PRAISE FOR

“A galloping story of murder, suicide, deception, and disguise.”
–Entertainment Weekly


“As international as caviar and vodka! A crafty tale full of atmosphere, character, and action.”
–Anne Perry

“Marries old-fashioned manners to a nonstop array of plot twists to rival the best detective tales . . . The Winter Queen is an energetic hands-down winner.”
–People

“There are secret panels, hidden tunnels, a false mustache, intercepted letters, gunfights, and a glamorous female villain. . . . Akunin knows how to build suspense.”
–The Boston Globe

“A wondrous strange and appealing novel . . . Elaborate, intricate, profoundly czarist, and Russian to its bones, as though Tolstoy had sat down to write a murder mystery. Not quite like anything you’ve ever read before.”
–Alan Furst, author of The Foreign Correspondent