Kel McGowan is Kelligrafie
So I'm on week 1 of my 52AZ, where I aim to read 52 books by author surnames A-Z in one year. Thereby experiencing new books and writers that I otherwise wouldn't have thought to read.
I finished ahead of schedule this week with Murder On The Leviathan by Boris Akunin, also known as Grigory Chkhartishvili. 236 pages, not including the extract of another of his books, Turkish Gambit.
MOTL is a murder story, set upon a 19th Century equivalent of a cruise liner. A strange situation has arisen in Paris where Lord Littleby and 9 members of his household staff, including children have been found killed. French Comissioner Gauche is the detective assigned to this crime and tracks the killer to the Leviathan steamship. However, here he encounters Erast Fandorin, who proves to be more than a little adept at solving mysteries himself.
I'm not particularly a fan of the crime genre; although I do like a good murder mystery televised program like Midsomer Murders. I can also appreciate Poirot, Inspector Frost, Morse, Lewis. It would be interesting to see if a book could hold my attention in the same way that Midsomer does.
I found it a little hard to get into, but by no means is it the dullest book I've ever read. For the most part it is told from Comissioner Gauche's perspective but at different sections in the story it will switch viewpoints with some of the suspects. I'm guessing this is to allow you to get inside the heads of the suspected killer and the other passengers. One thing I can credit Boris for, is that at no point does this give away too much. He also doesn't tell the story from EVERYONES' perspectives as this would elongate the story needlessly. Little subplots are carefully woven here and there and on more than one occasion you will find yourself going, "Ahhh," as you recognise some referance to an earlier chapter.
Erast Fandorin turns out to be the hero but I felt at times he was all too close to becoming a background character. You only ever see him from the viewpoint of Gauche and the other passengers. And then he seems to suddenly emerge from the shadows to tackle the villain. He has been described as being 'more human than Bond' by the Daily Telegraph. But being human isn't what James Bond is about to me. You go to see a Bond film (I honestly don't know how the books compare, I've not read any yet - maybe tackle them when I get to F?) for escapism. For explosions, girls, glamour, suave men. I doubt as many middle aged women would have gotten into a tizzy at the cinema if it were James Corden walking out of the sea in speedos instead of Daniel Craig. Fandorin is likeable enough but seems like a lukewarm Bond, which wasn't to my taste.
I'll give this book 5/10. Wasn't great, but wasn't awful either.
Next week I'll be reading and reviewing The Tregenza Girls by Rosemary Aitken.