Lisa Schwarzbaum
April 30, 2004 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Murder On the Leviathan

Current Status
In Season
Fiction, Mystery and Thriller

We gave it an A

They become only more intricate and marvelous, the improbable adventures of the quiet, stuttering, young Russian diplomat who stars in Akunin’s addictively dazzling Erast Fandorin mysteries. (The first to be translated into English, The Winter Queen, came out last year.) This time, Fandorin finds himself on a luxury cruise ship bound for India — the floating equivalent of the Orient Express, it turns out, for all the exotic murder suspects the vessel contains — and inevitably gets drawn into a case involving a dead British lord, seven servants, two children, and a missing gold statuette of the Hindu god Shiva. Akunin’s agile leaps of time, tone, and narrative style are matched by a frisky erudition: The book itself is a luxury literary cruise.

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