The Gentle Axeby R. N. Morris
Fresh off the case of a deranged student who murdered his landlady, noted police investigator Porfiry Petrovich barely takes a breath before a bizarre and very grisly double murder lands him back on the streets of the tsarist St. Petersburg he knows all too well. The sardonic sleuth follows a trail from the drinking dens of the Haymarket district to an altogether
Fresh off the case of a deranged student who murdered his landlady, noted police investigator Porfiry Petrovich barely takes a breath before a bizarre and very grisly double murder lands him back on the streets of the tsarist St. Petersburg he knows all too well. The sardonic sleuth follows a trail from the drinking dens of the Haymarket district to an altogether more genteel stratum of society-a hunt that leads him to a conclusion even he will find shocking. In the tradition of such first-rate historical novels such as The Alienist and The Dante Club, The Gentle Axe is atmospheric and tense storytelling from its dramatic opening to its stunning climax.
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This historical crime novel adopts the setting and explores many of the themes of Dostoevsky's classic Crime and Punishment. It opens in 1866 with a gruesome scene in St. Petersburg's Petrovsky Park: a man's corpse hangs from a tree, and the dead body of a dwarf lies nearby, his skull split in two. An autopsy determines that the dwarf has been poisoned, raising suspicions about the presumed murder-suicide. The case is assigned to Porfiry Petrovich, Raskolnikov's prosecutor in Crime and Punishment. As Petrovich follows leads through the city's brothels, taverns, and tenements, a number of Dostoevskian characters emerge as suspects. The investigation quickly centers on Virginsky, an impoverished student whose life closely parallels Raskolnikov's. Morris, actually a pseudonym for Roger Morris, author of the novel Taking Comfort, portrays Virginsky with particular empathy and sensitivity. Readers with an appetite for the occasional lurid scene will enjoy; for public libraries. [See Prepub Alert, LJ11/15/06.]
- Penguin Publishing Group
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- Product dimensions:
- 5.66(w) x 8.56(h) x 0.91(d)
- Age Range:
- 18 - 17 Years
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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. One of his stories, "the Devil's Drum," was turned into a one-act opera, which was performed at the Purcell Room in London's South Bank. Another "Revenants," was published as a comic book.
Simon Vance, a former BBC Radio presenter and newsreader, is a full-time actor who has appeared on both stage and television. He has recorded over eight hundred audiobooks and has earned five coveted Audie Awards, and he has won fifty-seven Earphones Awards from AudioFile magazine, which has named him a Golden Voice.
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Not familiar with this author so was very impressed with writing style and grasp of the Russian culture of the period. Never having read Dosteyevsky, can't compare the styles but does not seem to have any false notes. Definitely recommend this to all readers interested in the cultural aspects of life in 19th Century Russia.