Morris, R. N. The Gentle Axe: A Novel

ISBN 13: 9781594201127

The Gentle Axe: A Novel

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9781594201127: The Gentle Axe: A Novel
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In the aftermath of two grisly murders in St. Petersburg, investigator Porfiry Petrovich traces leads to a pornography ring and more genteel societal circles before encountering dangerous resistance from powerful high-ranking groups.

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Review:

Porfiry Petrovich, the police investigator who worked on the case involving the deranged student Raskolnikov in Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment, is given another life in R.N. Morris's The Gentle Axe. It is 1867 in St. Petersburg, Russia, on a cold winter morning. An elderly woman is scouring Petrovsky Park in search of a few sticks of firewood. What she finds instead is horrifying: a big, burly peasant hanging by a rope from a tree, with a blood-covered axe tucked into his belt. Nearby, she finds a suitcase. Packed inside is the body of a dwarf, with a deep head wound caused by an axe. Conventional wisdom says that the peasant killed the dwarf and then, in a paroxysm of guilt and remorse, killed himself. That scenario is good enough for everyone but Porfiry.

In a wonderfully atmospheric novel, Morris has created a world-weary protagonist in Porfiry, a man still exhausted from his last case, joined by a collection of absolutely believable characters to flesh out the novel. Mysteries abound and multiply in layers of characterization and narrative. Porfiry's investigation goes on, despite repeated attempts to take him off the case, and it leads him from the dregs of society to its most genteel heights. He follows clues, hunches, people, and stories to get to the bottom of the mystery--and when he does, it comes as a complete surprise, but one that makes perfect sense. This carefully written and entertaining novel will satisfy lovers of mystery, historical crime, and just plain good novels. --Valerie Ryan

About the Author:

Born in Manchester in 1960, R. N. Morris now lives in north London with his wife and two young children. He sold his first short story to a teenage girls' magazine while still a student at Cambridge University, where he read classics. Making his living as a freelance copywriter, he has continued to write, and occasionally publish, fiction. One of his stories, "The Devil's Drum," was turned into a one-act opera, which was performed at the Purcell Room in London's South Bank. Another, "Revenants," was published as a comic book.

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780143113263: The Gentle Axe: A Novel (A Porfiry Petrovich Novel)

Featured Edition

ISBN 10: 0143113267 ISBN 13: 9780143113263
Publisher: Penguin Books, 2008
Softcover

9780571232055: A GENTLE AXE: ST PETERSBURG MYSTERY: A ST PETERSBURG MYSTERY

Faber ..., 2007
Softcover

9780571237845: The Gentle Axe: A Novel

Pengui..., 2007
Hardcover

9780571232062: A Gentle Axe

Faber ..., 2007
Softcover

9780571238576: A Gentle Axe

Faber ..., 2008
Softcover

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