A Vengeful Longing
By R. N. Morris
(Penguin Press HC, The, Hardcover, 9781594201806, 336pp.)
Publication Date: June 12, 2008
List Price: $24.95*
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Following in the footsteps of the highly acclaimed novel The Gentle Axe, featuring the detective Porfiry Petrovich in another atmospheric and gripping slice of nineteenth-century Russia
It's the middle of a hot, dusty St. Petersburg summer in the late 1860s. A doctor brings home a fancy box of chocolates for his wife and son--a strange gift on a sweltering Saturday afternoon. Within an hour, both mother and child die an excruciating death, and the doctor is immediately arrested, suspected of poisoning. As investigator Porfiry Petrovich concedes, in such cases the obvious solution often turns out to be the correct solution. And in the city's steamy, oppressive atmosphere, even he lacks the energy to delve any deeper.
But when further, apparently unconnected, murders occur on the other side of town, a subtle and surprising pattern starts to emerge. Porfiry is forced to reassess his assumptions and follow a tenuous, uncertain trail that takes him into the hidden, squalid heart of the city and brings him face-to-face with incomprehensible horror and cruelty. A Vengeful Longing is a taut, enthralling mystery, a vivid and utterly unforgettable rendering of a brutal and stifling nineteenth- century St. Petersburg.