by Smith, Martin Cruz
pub. Random House, NY 1992 - isbn 0-679-41688-9 - - 370 p.
This is one of Cruz Smiths mysteries where his chief investigator is Arkady Renko. It is well written and a good read. The action begins in Moscow when a underworld banker is killed by a bomb exploding in his car, destroying not only him but also all his records. Renko follows leads and when one of his bosses is killed he is officially taken off the case, but he persists and gets permission to follow leads in Germany. He works in Germany without official police authority, and manages to make progress anyway. A lady he loves is an added wrinkle and becomes part of the investigation. The use of the work of a real Soviet artist, Kazimir Malevich, in the story adds a lot to the realism in the story. The final part of this story takes place back in Moscow, as government is changing in what may be setting up to be a violent confrontation in Red Square between the old guard and reformers.
The time period covers from 6 August 1991 through 21 August 1991.
This puts it during the great change of government in 1991. The book was copyrighted in 1992. It ends quite abruptly. I have the feeling the author had a story and had it end when he did not know how history would play out. So instead of guessing he ended it. He tied up all the plot threads well enough so the end is satisfying. Martin Cruz Smith does a lot of research on the places he uses in his novels. This makes them very good reads.
~ 2011-09-23 ~
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