Wednesday, September 24, 2008

"At Port Said another passenger boarded the Leviathan ... and Gustave Gauche's mood immediately improved."

Another book from my spooky books for fall list is Boris Akunin's Murder on the Leviathan. This is the second book in the Erast Fandorin series that starts with The Winter Queen which I reviewed last month. This is the story of a mass murder and theft of Indian antiquities in France and the murderer's attempted escape on an England-to-India steamliner, the Leviathan. Fandorin is a passenger on the boat en route to his new diplomatic post in Japan -- after the tragedy that ended the last book. A French police commissioner by the name of Gauche takes passage on the boat and has all of his suspects assigned to one meal salon, including Fandorin. Fandorin is quickly discounted but the others are all under various states of suspicion as the reason for their presence in the salon is revealed and multiple murders follow.

This book is something of an homage to other mystery writers including Agatha Christie, Wilkie Collins and Arthur Conan Doyle. Wilkie Collins was the first author to write a single novel in multiple voices. This book also tells the story from multiple viewpoints, although oddly never Fandorin's view. Akunin also writes a scene where Fandorin uses his powers of deduction to identify other passengers on the ship in a very Sherlock Holmes-esque way.

Murder on the Leviathan is a fantastic book and is highly different from the first book in the series. Akunin is very good at writing in different styles and different voices. If you want to read one book in the series, this is a probably the best and a good stand-alone story.

Sailing the treacherous seas,

Buy Murder on the Leviathan on Amazon or find it at your local library.

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