Case of Moscow underground

2008-02-01 00:00

LIFE does not appear to be getting any easier for senior investigator Arkady Renko, the dogged if different hero of Martin Cruz Smith's brilliantly realised series of crime novels set in contemporary Russia.

Both his girlfriend, Eva, and his adopted son, Zhenya, seem to be slipping away from him and there is not much he can do to prevent it, while his relationship with his boss, the prosecutor Zurin, remains as fractious as ever. When the ghost of Stalin is reported to have been seen on the Moscow underground, he draws the short straw and is assigned to investigate the case, knowing full well that he could end up looking ridiculous.

Almost immediately he manages to antagonise his fellow investigator, Nikolai Isakov, a hero of the Chechen war with political ambitions and some shady connections and who likes to see himself as the living embodiment of a resurgent Russian nationalism.

This is only the beginning of Renko's problems. In the course of his investigation he is nearly garotted by a beautiful woman violinist, takes a bullet in the head and is banished to the backwater town of Tver to recuperate where he is immediately made to feel unwelcome. Various other characters, including a Russian chess grandmaster, two American spin doctors and the owner of a matrimonial agency who wants her husband killed, put in an appearance - all adding to the general confusion and air of uncertainty.

This is not to say the story is untidy or that the plotting is arbitary, since Smith has a clear focus in his purpose and keeps a steady hand at the helm. His characters develop and change along with the turbulent, often brutal, society they live in while, most importantly, the final denouement is always true to what has gone before.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.