The Holy Thief by William Ryan
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
The second mystery I've read this year set in the early Soviet era - is this a new mystery trend? It's a dark mystery, definitely not a cozy, and the layers of suspicion and paranoia that run through the story are interesting. If the author is accurately depicting life back then, people like Captain Korolev are rare: not a Party member, not for sale, perhaps not buying all the Party is selling but sincerely believing that this is all for the greater good.
His investigation into the murder of a young woman, who turns out to be a Russian-born, American-raised nun looking for an icon brings him into contact with Chekists, Thieves and a band of Holmesian Irregulars. It also raises many questions about who to trust and how to keep safe during this time of doubt and questioning (even the young officer assigned to him turns out to be something else).
One thing about this book that I particularly liked was the source list; while I do wonder about the bias of the materials, they look like a good place to learn more about this time in history.
ARC provided by publisher.
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