Wednesday, January 31

Death on the Nevskii Prospekt by David Dickinson

Review by Theodore Feit 

Lord Powerscourt, as he recovered from a near fatal wound two years before, was convinced by his wife, Lady Lucy, to retire as an investigator.  Now, in the year 1904 he is coaxed out of retirement to undertake a secret mission to St. Petersburg on behalf of the British Foreign Office to learn the details of the death of a diplomat who himself was on a secret mission to the Russian capital.

The plot revolves around a secret presumably known by the murdered man, but which is unknown to everyone but King Edward.  Powerscourt becomes involved with the Russian secret intelligence service head who also wants to know the secret, among others.  He witnesses the bloody massacre of workers at a peasant demonstration, the torture chambers of the secret police, and is even subjected to whipping by the palace intelligence service after he meets with the Tsar.

In the end, Powerscourt applies logic to unlock the mystery of the diplomat's death, but not before the author takes us on a vast tour of the pre-revolutionary era, the royal family and even Rasputin as he enters the picture.   It is a tale well told and worth reading.  The real question is: was this Powerscourt's last investigation, and will he finally retire for good?

Recommended.

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