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Murder on the Leviathan (Erast Fandorin Mysteries #3)

3.96 of 5 stars 3.96  ·  rating details  ·  3,697 ratings  ·  175 reviews
Paris, 1878: Eccentric antiquarian Lord Littleby and his ten servants are found murdered in Littleby’s mansion on the rue de Grenelle, and a priceless Indian shawl is missing. Police commissioner “Papa” Gauche recovers only one piece of evidence from the crime scene: a golden key shaped like a whale. Gauche soon deduces that the key is in fact a ticket of passage for the L ...more
Paperback, 229 pages
Published February 8th 2005 by Random House Trade Paperbacks (first published January 1st 1998)
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The Name of the Rose by Umberto EcoThe Alienist by Caleb CarrThe Historian by Elizabeth KostovaThe Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz ZafónMistress of the Art of Death by Ariana Franklin
Best Historical Mystery
172nd out of 1,126 books — 3,037 voters
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg LarssonThe Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz ZafónThe Name of the Rose by Umberto EcoThe Girl Who Played with Fire by Stieg LarssonAnd Then There Were None by Agatha Christie
Best Literary Mysteries
378th out of 945 books — 2,099 voters

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Community Reviews

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Jan 28, 2008 Stanka rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Absolutely everyone
I am a slow, really slow, reader but this book took me a day and a half. For someone faster, it may be a matter of hours. I suppose that's all recommending you need, but here is some more. Akunin -- recommended to me as "the best Russian novelist today" (except that he's Georgian) -- writes a really hilarious parody of Agatha Christie-type murder mysteries, notably a novel like "Murder on the Orient Express." What he "takes" from Christie is a confined luxurious setting (in his case, it's a larg ...more
Diana Vassileva-ditsy
Да, да....точно така, това са 5 звезди! Безупречен, интересен, интригуващ...дори забавих четенето, за да удължа удоволствието.
Акунин отново показва безупречния си стил. А Ераст Фандорин е...ех. Образът му на невероятно логичен и интелигентен мъж се развива все повече, а романтичния ореол около героя засия още по-силно. Нищо общо с влюбения наивен младок от "Азазель".

В "Левиатан" мистерията е пълна, повестта започва с гръм и трясък, мигновена интрига и загадка и грабва още от първата страница...б
A couple of years ago I read Akunin's Sister Pelagia & the White Bulldog, and rather enjoyed it -- enough, anyway, to give him another try. I really had no idea of the treat I had in store: this is a splendid piece, by turns poignant, mystifying and (often gloriously) funny.

In 1878 there's a ghastly mass murder in a Paris home, and a sacred gold statue and a shawl, both treasures from British-conquered India, are stolen. The statue is dredged up from the bottom of the Seine not long after. T
This was a bit of a strange duck. It's a locked-room mystery set on a ship ("Death on the Nile" anyone?), although the crime happened in Paris weeks earlier. It is told from the viewpoints of each of the characters, chapter by chapter (including one by the person who ends up being "It"). It features a bumbling inspector from Paris who is smart, but not as smart as he thinks he is. It is set in the 1870s, although it feels more like it should be set in the pre-World War I era (1910s). And the per ...more
Richard Reviles Censorship Always in All Ways
Diverting entry in an ongoing series. Erast Fandorin is a charming, nineteenth-century Russian James Bond-if-he-was-fathered-by-Nero-Wolfe sleuth trapped on board a huge new luxury liner with a greedy, murderous genius who is after the world's greatest hoard of gemstones.

People die right and left as the sleuth, ineptly assisted by seemingly every passenger assigned to eat in his dining room, closes in on the inevitable identification of the killer/fortune hunter. Much entertaining diversion avai
A second book by Akunin that I listened to but enjoyed much less than previous "Azazel". I hoped that this one would pick up where "Azazel" ended but disappoints in this respect. Fandorin's great personal tragedy is mentioned but really just brushed aside. It's again an old type of mystery novel, written almost as a pastiche of Agatha Christie-type of murder story. Horrible crime took place in Paris and a clue leads to the Leviathan, an English passenger ship, the biggest and fastest vessel of t ...more
Susan Grigsby
I knew when I read The Winter Queen that Boris Akunin was an author of rare talent. I raved about his ability to transport the reader to the Russia of the Czars in a wonderfully florid style. The Winter Queen was the first of the Erast Fandorin series of mysteries. Akunin has decided that there are 16 different genres of mysteries, and 16 different personality types according to an interview he gave the San Diego Reader. The Winter Queen was the international conspiracy novel. The second book i ...more
Melissa McShane
I'm already a fan of the Erast Fandorin mysteries, and this one didn't change my opinion at all. Police commissioner Gauche, on the trail of a vicious murderer and thief, collects a small group of travelers journeying from Europe to Japan by luxury steamship, believing his culprit is among them. Fortunately for him, Fandorin is after the same thing, because "Papa" Gauche isn't as good an investigor as he believes. And Fandorin is.

I particularly liked how the story is told from different perspect
Russian detective Erast Fandorin is one suspect among several confined on shipboard while a French police commissioner investigates the murder of the eccentric Lord Littleby.

A clue dropped at the site of a horrific murder leads Paris police commissioner “Papa” Gauche to sail on the maiden voyage of the steamship Leviathan. Ten of the passengers are suspects, including the Russian detective Erast Fandorin. Each passenger has his or her own story to tell, secrets to protect, and view of the other
Jill Hutchinson
To put it simply, I loved this book. It was written in the style used in the Golden Age of Mystery and surprisingly is a translation from the Russian. This is one of a series and the first that I have read......needless to say, I will be reading more by this author.
The luxury liner, Leviathan, is the setting for mystery, although the first chapter sets the stage for all that follows.....a mass murder in Paris and the theft of a priceless artifact. A nosy and crude French policeman, Commissioner
Craig Shier
In search of the perpetrator of a multiple murder in Paris, a French detective pursues his quarry aboard the steamer Leviathan which is traveling to India in about 1878. Erast Fandorin, a young Russian diplomat/detective on his way to Japan meets the ship along the way. The mystery is fine though not very original. Fandorin has the advantage of the frenchman at every step. He's a bit of a cross between Holmes and Poirot.

Parts of the story are related by several of the eclectic, international gro
Margo Brooks
Book #3, in which our humble hero, Erast Fandorin, now a diplomat on his way to Japan, solves a particularly brutal set of murders and catches a notorious criminal. Ten people are murdered in a robbery-gone-wrong in Paris, where the loot is senselessly thrown into the Seine and one of the victims is left holding a brooch that links the murderer to the maiden voyage of the luxury liner, Leviathan. Thus begins this mystery, a very entertaining homage to Agatha Christie. Beginning with the secretiv ...more
Boris Akunin jatkaa kirjallisia seikkailujaan, tällä kertaa perinteisellä suljetun huoneen mysteerillä. Brittiläinen intialaisten aarteiden kerääjä ja koko palveluskunta löydetään murhattuna, ja jäljet johtavat uuden Leviatan-laivan neitsytmatkan ensimmäisen luokan matkustajiin. Selviääkö murhaaaja, ennen kuin laiva saapuu määränpäähänsä Intiaan? Myös sarjan sankari, venäläinen Erast Fandorin on epäiltyjen joukossa... Suosittelen!
Goran K
First, I must say that I'm again disappointed by Croatian publishers who publish one book from series, than skip next one, than publish third etc. That's why I didn't read The Turkish Gambit, because it's not translated in Croatian, and libraries often do not have English editions. I'll try to find the 2nd novel from series in English, but probably won't succeed. So far, I've read the first and sixth novel from Fandorin series.

In comparison to the previous book, this is obvious advance. It's wri
Pietro Coen
This is Fandorin in the early 1870s; disgusted by events that took place in the previous book (Turkish Gambit) he is travelling as far away from Russia as possible, aboard the Leviathan, a big ship that will take him and his travel companions across the Suez Canal and on to India - which had recently opened in 1869; his destination is Japan where he has taken up a job as representative of the Russian Empire. The suspicious murder of an English collector of antiques in Paris attracts the attentio ...more
Luke Meehan
A brilliant pastiche of Christie-clone murder mysteries, done with palpable sensitivity and humour. Akunin de-emphasises the 'mystery' of the genre, instead using character revelation to generate suspense. Exceptional work weakened only by the outre silliness of the setting and mild racism of the sketches. But then, perhaps that's all part of the charm.
I've read several Fandorin adventures, but this one is the best by far. It's written in pow style of several characters on giant ship Leviathan. Style varies from person to person telling the story, which is full of intrigue, drama, mystery and murder. Like every true detective story should be. A must read for any fans of mystery stories of old.
Kimmo Sinivuori
Back to form after the somewhat disappointing Turkish Gambit. If the Winter Queen was a Conan Doyle pastiche and the Turkish Gambit a failed foray into Flashman territory then Murder on the Leviathan is a very nice adventure that brings to mind Agatha Christie's Murder on the Nile. This is a well written mystery with several twists and turns that keeps one turning the pages at increasing speed. A bit too long to finish at one sitting but I could still imagine spending a winter's Sunday by the fi ...more
Lora Grigorova
Murder on the Leviathan:

Murder on the Leviathan is a classic “closed room” mystery novel with a lot of potential and a sharp sense of humour, which led to a couple of loud giggles from my side on the tube. Paris, end of the 19th century. The eccentric Lord Littleby, a collector of rare Indian treasures is brutally murdered in his home. Alongside with all of his servants. A golden statue wrapped in a priceless Indian shawl is missing. The murderer, however
It’s the late 19th century, and there has been a most grizzly murder in Paris. One major clue has been left behind, and it points to a small group of first class passengers travelling on the enormous luxury cruiser, the Leviathan. A detective is on board and on the case, and has narrowed the list of suspects down to a few - but finding the murderer proves to be much more complicated than he imagined.

This book has everything a good armchair mystery needs – a shortlist of eccentric and suspicious
Nancy Oakes
1878: At the Paris home of Lord Littleby, a known collector of Indian (meaning from India) artifacts & treasures, a gruesome crime has been committed. Seated together around a table, 9 servants were found dead and upstairs, Lord Littleby himself was bludgeoned to death with a heavy object. Missing from his collection was a statue of the god Shiva, and a shawl. The Inspector of the French police working the case, a M. Gauche, finds one and only one piece of evidence: a golden badge in the sha ...more
Cheryl A
In homage to Dame Agatha, Russian author Boris Akunin has quite ably taken up the mantle of the closed door mystery. As a cast of international characters are assembled on the maiden voyage of the steamer Leviathan, a French detective is determined to solve the “Crime of the Century”. Russian detective cum diplomat, Erast Fandorin finds himself not only in the midst of the suspects, but considered one as well.

The story opens with the death of Lord Littleby, his household staff and his security g
Michelle Diener
Russian novelist Boris Akunin tips his hat at Agatha Christie in this book of mystery and murder set on a cruise ship in 1878.

Perhaps non-writers won't really notice this, but the most amazing part of LEVIATHAN is that NOT ONCE is the reader let into the head of Erast Fandorin, the hero of the book. LEVIATHAN is part of a series of books featuring Erast Fandorin, a Russian diplomat.

Instead of letting us inside Erast's head, we see the action and the hero through the eyes of the other character
Nathanael Booth
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Joyce Lagow
3rd in the Erast Fandorin series.[return][return]This is a lightweight series that I hope Akunin is having as much fun writing as he appears to be doing. This installment, according to the cover blurbs, is a takeoff on Conan Doyle and Agatha Christie. Certainly, it s very different in style from the first two. Told from the points of view of different passengers of the mammoth luxury liner Leviathan, on her maiden cruise in 1878, the plot involves a horrendous murder of 12 people in Paris before ...more
Perry Whitford
Always on the hunt for a good detective series, I read my first novel featuring Erast Fandorin, the 19th century Russian diplomat and stammering super sleuth, a few months ago, titled Turkish Gambit, which was the second in the series. Though not exactly bowled over, I enjoyed it enough to want to read another, so I got hold of this, which is the very next book in the series.
Straight after his adventures in the Russo-Turkish war, Fandorin finds himself on board the famous luxury cruise ship, the
Slow to get going, and nowhere near as good as the first two in the Fandorin series, this is "Fandorin-lite" as the story is not told from his point of view and he barely makes much of an appearance. Akunin and his translator are talented, and the prose elegant and desriptive without being flowery, but the focus is more on Gustave Gauche, the French detective, than Fandorin himself. In keeping with Akunin's theme of writing each Fandorin novel in a specific genre, this is an Agatha Christie styl ...more
I quite enjoyed this episonde. It's the 3rd I've read in Akunin's Erast Fandorin series. I'm a little confused, because I read the 3rd first, then the 1st and second...It seems to me that the 3rd should be 2nd...anyway...Erast is on the Leviathan a brand new fancy ass pants ship, sail and motor grandiose ball room and all that. There'd been a cold blooded multiple murder in France, and for one reason or another, a French detective decides that the murderer had to be on the ship...which is going ...more
russell barnes
Another refugee from Woking's many second hand book shops, Murder on the Leviathan is a much more rounded read than The Winter Queen.

Possibly because it's set on a pleasure cruise and he's ostensibly not the main character, Fandorin seems more relaxed, or at least as relaxed as you can be as a suspect in a multiple murder investigation. Also, the mix of nationalities on board and the claustrophobic Windsor Suite gives Akunin license to let his sense of humour off the leash.

This time around it
Kel McGowan
So I'm on week 1 of my 52AZ, where I aim to read 52 books by author surnames A-Z in one year. Thereby experiencing new books and writers that I otherwise wouldn't have thought to read.

I finished ahead of schedule this week with Murder On The Leviathan by Boris Akunin, also known as Grigory Chkhartishvili. 236 pages, not including the extract of another of his books, Turkish Gambit.

MOTL is a murder story, set upon a 19th Century equivalent of a cruise liner. A strange situation has arisen in Pari
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Real name - Grigory Shalvovich Chkhartishvili (see Grigory Chkhartishvili), born in Tbilisi, Georgia, in 1956. Since 1958 he lives in Moscow. Writer and translator from Japanease. Author of crime stories set in tsarist Russia. In 1998 he made his debut with novel Azazel (to English readers known as The Winter Queen), where he created Erast Pietrovich Fandorin.

B. Akunin refers to Mikhail Alexandr
More about Boris Akunin...

Other Books in the Series

Erast Fandorin Mysteries (1 - 10 of 14 books)
  • The Winter Queen (Erast Fandorin Mysteries, #1)
  • The Turkish Gambit (Erast Fandorin Mysteries, #2)
  • The Death of Achilles (Erast Fandorin Mysteries, #4)
  • Special Assignments (Erast Fandorin Mysteries, #5)
  • Статский советник (Erast Fandorin Mysteries, #6)
  • Коронация, или Последний из романов (Erast Fandorin Mysteries, #7)
  • Любовница смерти (Erast Fandorin Mysteries, #8)
  • Любовник смерти (Erast Fandorin Mysteries, #9)
  • Алмазная колесница (Erast Fandorin Mysteries, #10)
  • Нефритовые четки (Erast Fandorin Mysteries, #11)
The Winter Queen (Erast Fandorin Mysteries, #1) The Turkish Gambit (Erast Fandorin Mysteries, #2) The Death of Achilles (Erast Fandorin Mysteries, #4) Special Assignments (Erast Fandorin Mysteries, #5) Статский советник (Erast Fandorin Mysteries, #6)

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“Одинок полет
Светлячка в ночи.
Но в небе - звезды.
"В чем же смысл интуитивно возникшего во мне трехстишья? Человек - одинокий светлячок в бескрайнем мраке ночи. Свет его так слаб, что освещает лишь крошечный кусочек пространства, а вокруг лишь холод, тьма и страх. Но если отвести испуганный взгляд от находящейся внизу темной земли и посмотреть ввысь (всего-то и надо - повернуть голову!), то увидишь, что небо покрыто звездами. Они сияют ровным, ярким и вечным светом. Звезды - твои друзья, они помогут и не бросят в беде. А чуть позже ты понимаешь другое, не менее важное: светлячок - тоже звезда, такая же, как все остальные. Те, что в небе, тоже видят твой свет, и он помогает им вынести холод и мрак Вселенной.
Наверное, моя жизнь не изменится. Я буду такой же, как прежде, - и суетный, и вздорный, и подверженный страстям. Но в глубине моей души будет жить достоверное знание. Оно спасет и поддержит меня в трудную минуту. Я больше не мелкая лужа, которую может расплескать по земле сильный порыв ветра. Я - океан, и буря, прокатившись всесокрушающим цунами по моей поверхности, не затронет сокровенных моих глубин.”
“Че човек е самотна светулка в безкрайната тъмнина на нощта.Светлината му е толкова слаба, че огрява микроскопична част от пространството, а наоколо е студ, мрак и страх.Но ако отместиш поглед от тъмната земя там долу и погледнеш към висините (само толкова се иска - да обърнеш глава!), ще видиш, че небето е цялото в звезди.Те сияят с равна, ярка и вечна светлина.Не си самотен в мрака....Онези, които са на небето, виждат твоята светлина и тя им помага да понесат студа и мрака на Вселената.” 1 likes
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