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A Razor Wrapped in Silk
     

A Razor Wrapped in Silk

4.0 1
by R. N. Morris
 

St Petersburg. 1870. A child factory worker is mysteriously abducted. A society beauty is sensationally murdered. Two very different crimes show up the deep fissures in Russian society of the late tsarist period. The first is barely noticed by the authorities. The latter draws the full investigative might of St Petersburg's finest, led by magistrate Porfiry

Overview

St Petersburg. 1870. A child factory worker is mysteriously abducted. A society beauty is sensationally murdered. Two very different crimes show up the deep fissures in Russian society of the late tsarist period. The first is barely noticed by the authorities. The latter draws the full investigative might of St Petersburg's finest, led by magistrate Porfiry Petrovich.

The dead woman had powerful friends - including at least one member of the Romanov family - so when the tsar's notorious secret police becomes involved, it seems that both crimes may have a political - not to say revolutionary - aspect. A trail of missing children leads to a shocking discovery that takes Porfiry inside the Winter Palace for a confrontation with the Tsar himself. The usually incisive magistrate grows increasingly unsure what to believe, who to trust and how to proceed. His very life appears to be in danger, though from whom he can't be sure ...

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Set in St. Petersburg in 1868, Morris's superb second novel to feature Porfiry Petrovich (after The Gentle Axe) puts the detective borrowed from Dostoyevski's Crime and Punishment on the trail of a series of vile murders. When the wife and son of a doctor die after consuming a box of chocolates at their dacha, the obvious suspect is the morphine-addicted doctor. Then a shooting and a stabbing lead Petrovich elsewhere-to an elegant confectioner's full of pastries and possible revolutionaries as well as to the city's underworld. As Petrovich breaks in a new detective, the aptly named Pavel Virginsky, he introduces colleague and reader alike to the Russian capital and to the ills of the entire society. Morris captures this world with expert strokes, never content to merely peddle exotica, but making sure that his characters spring convincingly from their setting. While the person behind the crimes is a little unlikely, this novel stands out from a number of fine czarist-era mysteries-by Russians and foreigners alike-like a Fabergé egg at a yard sale. (June)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Kirkus Reviews
Morris (The Gentle Axe, 2007) again resurrects police inspector Porfiry Petrovich from Crime and Punishment for a second rousing crime mystery. The story bursts open with a poisoned box of chocolates and the violent deaths of Raisa and Grisha Meyer, wife and son of Dr. Martin Meyer, a reclusive opium-eater. On his strained first day at the job, opinionated, idealistic Pavel Pavlovich Virginsky begins an apprenticeship under the older, wiser Porfiry Petrovich, and together they dispatch to the crime scene. The case appears to be open-and-shut, but in the following days, amidst the stifling heat and stench of drab, gray 19th-century St. Petersburg, a series of curious, seemingly unrelated murders occur. With mounting evidence tying the crimes to an insurrectionist cell plotting against the Tsar, a labyrinthine web of evidence begins to unravel. Each new lead becomes a dead-end, but the coincidences-so various, yet so exact-eventually lead the policemen toward the culprit. Richly colorful and alive, Morris's characters brim with texture, whether they are hard-nosed cops or seasoned prostitutes, cantankerous slumlords or bespectacled bureaucrats. None escape the piercing intellect of Petrovich, who opens every individual's closet of vice and hypocrisy. Forcing all to admit their deepest shames, he provides them a psychological conduit for personal revelation and redemption. Equally powerful (and parallel) to this Virgil-like probe of the human psyche are Petrovich and Virginsky's forays into the city's deepest shames: a hospital for the mentally insane and a tenement infected with cholera, where the only sounds are that of wailing for the dead. Musing on questions of love, regret, misery,injustice, disillusionment, etc., Morris seamlessly and brilliantly segues from intensely grave to laugh-out-loud funny. Provocative, satirical insights into humanity's darker corners.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780571254286
Publisher:
Faber and Faber
Publication date:
04/01/2010
Series:
QI
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
480
File size:
659 KB

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Meet the Author

Born in Manchester in 1960, R. N. Morris now lives in North London with his wife and two young children. A Vengeful Longing followed A Gentle Axe in a series of St. Petersburg novels revolving around the character of Porfiry Petrovich.
Born in Manchester in 1960, R.N. Morris now lives in North London with his wife and two young children. His series of St. Petersburg novels revolving around the character of Porfiry Petrovich include A Gentle Axe, A Vengeful Longing, which was shortlisted for the 2008 CWA Duncan Lawrie Dagger for Best Novel and was Highly Commended in the CWA Ellis Peters Prize for Best Historical Crime Novelin 2008. The third book A Razor Wrapped in Silk was publsihed in 2010. He also wrote Taking Comfort which was published by Macmillan under the name Roger Morris in 2006.

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A Razor Wrapped in Silk 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago