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Murder on the Trans-Siberian Express    by Stuart M. Kaminsky order for
Murder on the Trans-Siberian Express
by Stuart M. Kaminsky
Order:  USA  Can
Warner, 2001 (2001)
* * *   Reviewed by Wesley Williamson

I have read all of the Chief Inspector Porfiry Rostnikov novels - Murder on the Trans-Siberian Express is the fourteenth in the series. The earlier books portrayed Russia under the Communist regime and then through the chaotic period of change. Now the author shows us the full flower of free, capitalist, Russia. As the book jacket comments, 'In the old Russia, the law was written by Stalin. Now, it's written by Kafka.'

The problems the Chief Inspector has to solve have changed significantly over the years. However, he and the family of assistants who work with him have not changed, except that they have grown and developed. I use the word family advisedly; they feel like a family to me, with all a family's disputes and reconciliations, errors and accomplishments, irritations and endearments.

As usual, there are several mysteries to be solved: a heavy metal star (who happens to be the son of a powerful, Jewish millionaire) is kidnapped; a young woman is killing well dressed men in the Moscow Metro with a lovingly sharpened kitchen knife; and Rostnikov has to ride to the East on the Trans-Siberian Express in search of a long hidden historical document. In this endeavour, he is opposed by a beautiful secret agent and a ruthless assassin.

The characters are lovingly detailed, the contemporary Russian background sketched with a practised hand, and the mysteries and their solutions are just as interesting and amusing as ever.

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