Sunday, January 25, 2009


Pages: 295
Date: 24/01/2009
Grade: 4
Details: no. 1 Sister Pelagia Mystery

This was a very different mystery.
About 20 years ago I went through a stage in my reading when I read quite a few classic Russian novels. The style in which this mystery is written really reminds of those novel in that the story telling is unhurried, expansive and filled with philosophical issues.
On the other hand, this book also has a lot of the characteristics of a classical mystery as written by authors like Arthur Conan Doyle and Agatha Christie. And so we have a relatively small cast of characters from whom to pick our murderer and some of the clues not being shared with the reader.
This book was not an easy read. The Russian novel characteristics combined with the confusing way in which names are used in Russian, slowed the reading process right down.
Yet, it was a good and interesting historical mystery with a charming and at times surprising main character.
Sister Pelagia is a somewhat clumsy but very perceptive young nu who is occasionally asked by the Bishop of Zavolzhsk to investigate mysteries.
In this first mystery, Pelagia is asked to travel to the estate of the Bishop's aunt to find out who is killing her much loved and very rare white bulldogs. She does very successfully find the answer, but knows that this is not the end of the affair. And indeed, a short while later, Pelagia is investigating the murder of a man and fighting for her own life.
I will continue with this series and start Akunin's other one, but I will make sure to place those reads in between two lighter, easier books.

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