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Special Assignments
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To be published alongside Boris Akunin's new hardback, The State Counsellor Each new novel by Akunin is now a publishing event - he's a top ten bestseller and his audience grows with each novel Combined sales of the Fandorin series so far stand at over 250,000 copies 'Whether in skittish or sombre mood, Akunin is immensely readable (and excellently translated by Andrew Bromfield); the beguiling, super-brainy, sexy, unpredictable Fandorin is a creation like no other in crime fiction' The Times 'The perfect Sunday afternoon read' Scotland on Sunday 'An excellent read' Guardian

About the Author

Boris Akunin is the pseudonym of Grigory Chkhartishvili. He has been compared to Gogol, Tolstoy and Arthur Conan Doyle, and his Erast Fandorin books have sold over ten million copies in Russia alone. He lives in Moscow.

Reviews

In this thrilling collection of two novellas, Akunin (The Winter Queen) pits Erast Fandorin, his brilliant Russian detective who serves as the deputy for special assignments to the governor-general of czarist Moscow, against two different but equally deadly foes. In the comical "The Jack of Spades," Fandorin finds a Watsonian sidekick in Anisii Tulipov, a luckless and overeducated errand boy whose life changes when Fandorin takes him under his wing. The pair must face a cunning con man and thief, reminiscent of the great French antihero, Arsene Lupin. Things take a darker turn in "The Decorator," when Fandorin fears that Jack the Ripper is continuing his slaughter of prostitutes, this time in 1889 Russia. Clever writing and tight plotting, coupled with a willingness to shock readers by sacrificing significant characters, continue to cement Akunin's reputation as one of the finest contemporary authors of classic crime fiction. (Feb.) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

"Pure escapist fun that has, in Russia, outsold Harry Potter" London Review of Books

Fans of the Erast Fandorin mysteries (e.g., The Winter Queen) here get two for the price of one. In "The Jack of Spades," a clever swindler uses multiple disguises (and a seductive accomplice) to fleece the rich, his latest victim being Prince Dolgorukoi, Fandorin's protector. While pursuing Jack, Fandorin manages to pick up an assistant in the awkward but worthy Tulipov; they finally get their man, but justice isn't served in the way one would expect. Even more intriguing is that the companion story, "The Decorator," offers a novel solution to Jack the Ripper's identity. A serial killer is oozing about Moscow, murdering women and then leaving their innards neatly arranged on the ground. It's to make them more beautiful, explains the assailant in chilling interpolated passages. Fandorin recognizes the work of the famed English killer and goes about proving that he (or she?) is actually a Russian now home from London. Multiple suspects abound, and the ending is a real surprise, though as always Fandorin's triumph is bittersweet. A good addition to most mystery collections, especially where historicals are popular, this book can stand alone but will be richer when read in the context of the entire series.--Barbara Hoffert, Library Journal Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

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