A Moscow cop is left out in the cold in this “impressive” Edgar Award winner for Best Mystery Novel (The Washington Post Book World).
When forced to choose between the law and the party line, Police Inspector Porfiry Rostnikov has a disturbing tendency to fight for justice, and that has won him no friends at the Kremlin. Now his enemies in the KGB have arranged a transfer to the lowest rungs of Moscow law enforcement, a backwater department assigned to only the most hopeless cases, one of which is about to take Rostnikov deep into Siberia.
A corrupt commissar has been stabbed through the eye with an icicle. A murder at this level should be a top priority, but Rostnikov gets the distinct impression that the powers-that-be would prefer this case go unsolved—and that Rostnikov not survive this Siberian winter.
“As always, Kaminsky provides a colorful, tightly written mystery . . . filled with twists, countertwists, and a surprise ending that is plausible and clever.” —Chicago Tribune
The fifth novel in the Inspector Porfiry Rostnikov series offers another example of Kaminsky's ( A Fine Red Rain ) ability to spin a gripping, well-paced narrative peopled with vivid characters. Here the maverick Rostnikov, demoted after numerous battles with the KGB, is assigned to the case of Commissar Illya Rutkin, who was killed in Siberia while investigating the death of dissident Lev Samsonov's daughter, Karla. Inspector Emil Karpo, who accompanies the 54-year-old weightlifting policeman to the small town of Tumsk, has been asked by the KGB to report on his superior. Comrade Sokolov goes along, too, ostensibly to learn procedures, though Rostnikov knows his methods are under scrutiny. A realist and keen observer of humanity, Rostnikov deals shrewdly with the suspects in Rutkin's slaying: Lev Samsonov and his wife, Ludmilla; custodians Liana and Sergei Mirasnikov; Dimitri Galich, a former priest; and militarist General Krasnikov. As Rostnikov unravels the baffling crime, the clues point to loyalty and love as the motives for murder. The denouement is stunning and again proves Rostnikov is in a class by himself.