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The Winter Queen (Erast Fandorin Mysteries #1)

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  8,700 Ratings  ·  696 Reviews
An alternate cover for this isbn can be found here.

Moscow, May 1876: What would cause a talented young student from a wealthy family to shoot himself in front of a promenading public in the Alexander Gardens? Decadence and boredom, most likely, is what the commander of the Criminal Investigation Division of the Moscow Police thinks, but still he finds it curious enough to
Paperback, 256 pages
Published March 25th 2004 by Phoenix Press (first published 1998)
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I don't know if the charm of this novel translates well into English, but in its original (Russian) language this short historical mystery is delicious.

The Winter Queen (or as it was originally titled, Azazel) is the first book in a series of detective stories whose main character is Erast Fandorin. In this novel (set in 1870s Russia) Erast is a 20-year old wide-eyed youth who accidentally comes to investigate a strange case of public suicide. In spite of his naivete and innocence, Erast proves
Richard Derus
Jan 31, 2011 rated it really liked it
The Book Report: Young, orphaned Erast Fandorin has landed a comparatively cushy job for one whose comfortable future in czarist Russia was snatched away by the machinations of capitalists, beggaring and causing the suicide of his father: Erast is a fourteenth-class state functionary, serving a police official as amanuensis and errand-boy. It leads him into some odd alleyways, serving his about-to-retire master; his wit, his proficiency with language, his unquenchable curiosity lead his boss to ...more
Dec 04, 2013 rated it liked it
This is the first book of a very popular Russian series which brought fame to its author Boris Akunin (real name Grigory Chkhartishvili). Boris Akunin considers mystery genre to consist of several sub-genres - his own classification; he wrote each book of the series in each sub-genre (conspiracy, spy, political, Agatha Christie-type, etc.) In the first book we are presented with a conspiracy mystery.

The main hero of the series is Erast Fandorin: a young man in 19th century Russian Empire; the fi
Jul 10, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Борис Акунин е много готин тип с типичното иронично „руско“ чувство за хумор, което не цели да разсмее читателя, а просто да се подиграе на герой или ситуация. Това е страхотно.

Иначе за романа:
Началото на поредицата за г-н Фандорин, който е нещо като може-би-руския Шерлок Холмс. Ераст ми беше по интересен от самата история и особено от нейната развръзка, но всичко беше чудесно като цяло.
Ще продължа с компанията на Акунин.
Corinne Edwards
This is a brilliant book. The plot is clever and full of those "no way!" moments that I love in mysteries. I laughed out loud more than once - Fandorin is such a silly and unassuming hero, and his use of the "male corset" was absolutely divine. I did see a few things coming - but the writing was such fun to read, that it didn't spoil the book for me.

I appreciate it as a work of Russian literature (excellently translated) - of course, the ending was incredibly Russian (we can't have things be TOO
Το βιβλίο ξεκινάει με μια δυναμική εισαγωγή, παραπέμποντας μάλιστα σε μια φράση απ’ το Ημερολόγιο Συγγραφέως του Ντοστογιέφσκι που με τη σειρά της δίνει την αρχική υπόθεση εργασίας που βασίζεται στο κοινό ( σχεδόν ) θέμα του εξαιρετικού Ευγένιος Ονιέγκιν και του θεϊκού Ημερολόγιο ενός περιττού ανθρώπου ( επιβεβαιώνεται αυτό άλλωστε απ’ την αγάπη που έτρεφε ο Ντοστογιέφσκι για τον Πούσκιν ). Οι περιττοί άνθρωποι που τα βρίσκουν όλα έτοιμα στη ζωή κι απ’ αρχής γεύονται κάθε χαρά, πολυτέλεια, λαγνε ...more
Boris Akunin is actually a pen name of Grigory Chkhartishvili (bless you), according to the "About the Author" section in the back. "Akunin" is Japanese for "villain", a rather fitting pen-surname for someone who is apparently legendary in Russia for his crime novels. The Winter Queen is one of three mysteries featuring the detective Erast Fandorin. I understand all three of them were made into big Russian blockbuster movies. I think I might like the better movie. I'm just sayin'. This particula ...more
Saman Kashi
آلن فارست، نویسندهی رمانهای جاسوسی تاریخی که او را وارث سنت کسانی چون گراهام گرین و اریک میلر میدانند دربارهی رمان (عزازیل) میگوید: استادانه، پیچیده، و تا بن دندان تزاری و روسی. انگار تالستوی قصد کند داستانی جنایی بنویسد و نتیجه، (عزازیل) از آب درآید. رمانی شگفت انگیز و جذاب و تا حدودی متفاوت از آنچه تا کنون خواندهاید ...more
Nancy Oakes
Absolutely and totally fun novel, reminiscent of those old cliffhanger series things. I would recommend this book to readers who like what I would call "literary" mysteries, rather than the more fast-food type of reads (although, I must say, some of the ffrs (fast-food reads) are pretty good so I'm not slamming them -- I have read hundreds in my time). Anyway, this one demands a little more of your patience & time, but you will be rewarded in the long run.

brief plot review w/o spoilers

Set i
Dec 11, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: a-to-z-project
A to Z project, book 6
What a delightful mystery/adventure! Set in 1876 in Russia (and other parts of Europe) it follows an energetic but naive young man who has just begun a career as a minor functionary in the Moscow police. Erast Fandorin is something new (or perhaps something old made new again), a character who succeeds not through his abilities, although he is not without talents, but because fate seems to be on his side.

Akunin catches the tone of Victorian adventure very well. Plotwise, t
Nick Davies
Apr 11, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2016, book-group
For the first half of this book, I was of the opinion that this was an 'ok' crime thriller, but one (like a few others I have read) which felt a bit thin. Some historical crime thrillers feel to me a bit like once the well-researched chosen cultural and chronological aspects are stripped away, you're not left with much except a simple story dressed up in unusual words. This had some strange names and social ranks, and the story set up in a fairly likeable way, the first half was fairly enjoyable ...more
This is the first book of the series Erast Fandorin Mysteries.

The plot is based on Erast Fandorin's investigation of the suicide of a wealthy student at Alexander Gardens in Moscow. He then discovers this a part of the "American Roulette" which was very well portrayed in the movie The Deer Hunter (1978) with Robert de Niro among others.

A quite promising historical mysteries series.
Sep 01, 2007 rated it did not like it

I have no idea why this series is so popular. It fails as historical fiction. It fails as detective fiction. It fails in pretty much every way imaginable.

I did enjoy the part where the hero was saved by his own vanity in the shape of a 'Lord Byron' corset.
Jul 15, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone liking a good suspense story with humor
Shelves: foreignmysteries
I discovered Boris Akunin last year and immediately fell into his prosaic style. His novels are full of humor and suspense and there are parts that made me laugh aloud. These books are a fun, riotous read that you don't want to put down until you've completed each and every one of them.
Jun 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What the hell was that..?!
Jul 09, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, historical
In 19th century Russia, young Fandorin yearns to do exciting police work. When he finds clues that imply that a recent strange suicide was actually murder, he excitedly throws himself into the investigation. Along the way he comes to the attention of Bezhetskaya, a woman as coldly efficient as she is beautiful, Brilling, a detective with a brilliant analytical mind, and Zurov, a deadly marksman who lacks any ambition. The plot is a wonderful series of twists and turns, none of which I expected. ...more
Apr 22, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read #3 in this series, Murder on the Leviathan, a few years ago, and liked it a very great deal . . . which is why, of course, I picked up this volume. I've just noticed, while creating that link, that I read Leviathan because I'd enjoyed a different Akunin novel a couple of years before that; so the chain continues, link by link . . .

Poor but bright and well educated Erast Fandorin has acquired a dogsbody job at the Moscow CID, where his avuncular boss predicts he'll go far. His opportunity
Andy Weston
Erast Fandorin, a young policeman in 19th Century Moscow, is certainly a fresh and original character, and it is not hard to see why this series of books featuring him as the ‘detective’ have been so successful. Though quoted in some reviews as a Russian Sherlock Homes, his antics and miraculous escapes are more reminiscent of James Bond. Though starting out with subtlety, the plot evolves into a wild, improbable extravaganza, which for me is a bit over the top, I prefer the subtlety. The settin ...more
Христо Блажев
Началото на Ераст Фандорин:

Пролет в Москва, годината е 1876, от българските земи долитат зловещи новини, които скоро ще обсебят вниманието на всички,. Преди това обаче поредица странни случки, при които млади мъже се самоубиват на публични места, развълнуват обществеността. Младият Ераст Фандорин се намира някъде по дъното на полицейската йерархия и малко случайно се оказва разследващ на единия от тези случаи – той бързо се ориентира, че зад него се крият
Assaph Mehr
May 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing
What to Expect

Each novel is written as a different type of mystery. Akunin set out to rectify the low-brow reputation of the mystery genre in post-USSR Russia by writing worthy literature and exploring the wide gamut of sub-genres. Each novel is therefore excellently written as a different type of detective case. While there is continuity in the protagonist's life between the novels, each is very different in themes and tones.

I've written a condensed review of the whole series on my website.

Jul 11, 2010 rated it it was ok
Recommended to Christina by: Kelly
Shelves: kindle, 2010, fiction
This started out so well. A young man commits suicide in a park, right in front of a bench where a young lady and her chaperone are sitting. Young Erast Fandorin of the Criminal Investigation Department is eager to prove himself so he investigates the suicide and discovers that it was more of a suicide pact - or actually, a feud over a woman where two young men takes turn playing American roulette - and joking about how it will be re-named Russian roulette because of them.
So far, so good.
Our her
I don't think I am actually that big a fan of the detective himself in this book. He was a bit dense and immature.
What I did like was the era, the setting and the rest of the cast. I thought the author did a great job of making me feel like I was in 1876 Russia without being overly descriptive. I also thought the rest of the characters were quite interesting, the boss and the bad guys, the girl and her father, the femme fatale and the young men, all good.
The end was maybe a little over the top
César Carranza
Mar 13, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Очень весело, Эраст Фандорин когда он был молодой, читается очень легко и тоже интресно, если понравится читать детективный повести, это мне кажется очень хороши выбор! Все начинается когда один молодой человек самоубится перед одна женщина, и так только много ее странные жертвы, интересно почитать что получится.
Stephanie Jane (Literary Flits)
See more of my book reviews on my blog, Literary Flits

I didn't realise when I read The Turkish Gambit (the second in this series) a couple of years ago, that Akunin apparently wrote each of the novels in the style of a different literary genre. I found The Turkish Gambit too slow, but this first book, The Winter Queen was much more to my taste. It's well-paced adventure tale that doesn't take itself too seriously so, although Akunin creates a good sense of late-1800s Moscow and London, there are
Rafal Jasinski
Jul 09, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Jestem kompletnie oczarowany, zarówno kwiecistym, stylizowanym na dziewiętnastowieczną narrację, nieco gawędziarskim stylem powieści Akunina, jak i misternie opracowaną intrygą.

Autor sprawnie przechodzi od wydarzenia do wydarzenia, zręcznie myli tropy, a ilością zwrotów akcji, które występują w "Azazelu" dałoby się obdzielić z dziesięć innych powieści kryminalnych. Prowadzący dochodzenie Fandorin, to postać na tyle sympatyczna, że zupełnie nie przeszkadzało mi jego nietuzinkowe szczęście, które
Dec 17, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ficiton
Up until about page 150 I was ready to give the book a solid 4 stars. I've dropped it down to 3 stars overall after finishing. IMO, the story got a bit disjointed and there was a suspension of belief that entered the storyline that hadn't been there prior. To me, again IMHO, the author tried to sum up and bring to a close a story that had grown a bit large and somewhat overreaching. It felt as if the wrap up was rushed and not all the pieces fit nicely for me at the end as they had up through pa ...more
Ένας από τους αγαπημένους μου συγγραφείς. Το βιβλίο το διάβασα το 2010 για πρώτη φορά, στην αγγλική του έκδοση ως The winter queen και τώρα στην ελληνική του μετάφραση με τον πρωτότυπο τίτλο.

Ενώ λοιπόν το έχω ξαναδιαβάσει, συνεχίζει να με συναρπάζει. Θυμόμουν την λύση, οπότε δεν εξεπλάγην, αλλά είναι βέβαιο πως ο Boris Akunin δεν δίνει καμία υποψία της λύσης του θέματος. Ακόμα και στην τελευταία σελίδα είναι ανατρεπτικό. Υπέροχο!!!
Laurie Graham
Oct 19, 2012 rated it liked it
Mixed feelings about this. It was quite fun, and the first Russian who-dunnit I've read but towards the end I found it a bit madcap. It might be the genre I don't enjoy rather than the writer. I'd certainly consider trying another of Akunin's books.
Nov 20, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Ms.pegasus by: choice of local book club
Shelves: fiction, mystery, russia
The year is 1876. Alexander II is Tsar of all the Russias. Akunin's hero is a neophyte at the bottom rung of the civilian bureaucracy with an interest in crime solving. Unfortunately, in addition to his youth (he is only 20), he has lived a relatively sheltered life and has an aversion to messy murder scenes. His superintendent tries to clue him in: “We spend most of our time around here polishing the seats of our pants and writing reports about the petty bourgeois Potbelly dispatching his lawf ...more
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Knjigom u glavu: Knjiga mjeseca: Azazel 6 56 Oct 02, 2017 07:52AM  
Discovering Russi...: Group Discussion: The Winter Queen by Boris Akunin 19 104 Nov 06, 2012 06:30PM  
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Real name - Grigory Shalvovich Chkhartishvili (Russian: Борис Акунин; Georgian: გრიგოლ შალვას ძე ჩხარტიშვილი; Аlso 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 cre ...more
More about Boris Akunin

Other books in the series

Erast Fandorin Mysteries (1 - 10 of 17 books)
  • The Turkish Gambit (Erast Fandorin Mysteries, #2)
  • Murder on the Leviathan (Erast Fandorin Mysteries, #3)
  • 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)
  • Алмазная колесница . Том 1 (Приключения Эраста Фандорина #10)

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“I pay my teachers very well, because pedagogy is the most important of all the sciences,” 2 likes
“I read somewhere that it’s called American roulette. It was invented in America, in the goldfields. You put a single shot in the cylinder, give it a twirl, and then—bang! If you’re lucky you break the bank; if not, then it’s good-bye” 1 likes
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