Death on the Nevskii Prospekt
Russia, terrorist capital of the world at the beginning of the 20th century.
In St Petersburg the body of an English diplomat has been discovered on fashionable Nevskii Prospekt; it is Christmas 1904 and he was on a top-secret mission. Tsarina Alexandra will soon become enamoured of the disreputable priest, Rasputin, which will seal the fate of the Romanov royal family, and the country is on the brink of revolution.
It is into this melting pot of indiscriminate massacre, sadistic torture, unrelenting poverty coupled with fantastic wealth that David Dickinson introduces us to his intrepid investigator, Lord Francis Powerscourt, late of the Indian Army Intelligence, who is sent by the Prime Minister of Great Britain to solve the mysterious death.
The author captures the twilight years of imperial Russia; his turn of phrase and descriptive talent draw the reader into the period setting, and the novel is intelligently written with a great deal of historical content.
This is a disquieting book in the sense of time and place, describing how the Russian autocracy will bring disaster upon itself. The Bloody Sunday Massacr by the Tsarist troops outside the Winter Palace is vividly described with all its attendant horrors of bloodshed and mutilation.
Lord Francis is a formidable character even if he seems to share his information too readily; the story inclines at times to repetition but is skilfully told and has a depth of research not usually found in this genre. It held me fascinated to THE END.