A collection of the greatest Russian crime and mystery fiction—including stories by Akunin, Chekhov, Dostoevsky, Gogol, Nabokov, Pushkin, and Tolstoy.
Many of the greatest Russian authors, including Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Chekhov, and Pushkin, produced crime and mystery fiction, a type of literature that was largely suppressed during the Soviet era because it did not glorify the state, but rather, gave significance to individual characters. With the fall of the Soviet Union, mystery writers have become some of the most successful novelists in Russia, and there is a renewed interest in, and appreciation of, the great crime classics of an earlier era.
There have been few policemen, and virtually no private detectives or amateur sleuths, in Russian history worthy of approbation, and in consequence its literature is dramatically different from its Western counterparts. Criminals in Mother Russia tend to be caught or punished by their own consciences or by ghosts, and the notion of a criminal trial as we know it is utterly alien. Nonetheless, the enormous talent and passion of Russian authors has long been justly acclaimed, and the rare forays they made into the loosely defined genre of mystery fiction rank among the world's classics. This volume is the first collection ever devoted entirely to Russian crime fiction.
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“BJ Harrison provides a spirited and expressive narration of all the works. His voice is clear, and he adroitly gives unique voices to the various characters when reading dialogue. Mystery, crime, and suspense stories do not often come to mind when considering Russian literature, so this collection will be a pleasant surprise to those who wish to see another aspect of Russian works.”
About the Authors
Robert Petkoff is an actor and audiobook narrator who has won a prestigious Audie Award and multiple AudioFile Earphones Awards. He has appeared on Chappelle’s Show, Law & Order, and Quantum Leap. His Broadway credits include Sir Robin in Spamalot, Perchik in Fiddler on the Roof, and Tateh in Ragtime.
Anton Chekhov (1860–1904), the author of hundreds of short stories and several plays, is regarded by many as both the greatest Russian storyteller and the father of modern drama. He described the Russian life of his time using a deceptively simple technique devoid of obtrusive literary devices, thereby becoming the prominent representative of the late nineteenth-century Russian realist school. His early stream-of-consciousness style strongly influenced the literary world, including writers such as James Joyce.
Alexander Pushkin (1799–1837), known as the father of Russian literature, was descended from Russian nobility and from an African great-grandfather raised at the court of Peter the Great. His commitment to social reform resulted in government censorship of his work and a period of exile. He died after fighting a duel at the age of thirty-seven.
Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoevsky (1821–1881) was a Russian novelist, journalist, and short-story writer whose psychological penetration into the darkest recesses of the human heart had a profound and universal influence on the twentieth-century novel. He was born in Moscow, the son of a surgeon. Leaving the study of engineering for literature, he published Poor Folk in 1846. As a member of revolutionary circles in St. Petersburg, he was condemned to death in 1849. A last-minute reprieve sent him to Siberia for hard labor. Returning to St. Petersburg in 1859, he worked as a journalist and completed his masterpiece, Crime and Punishment, as well as other works, including The Idiot and The Brothers Karamazov.
JD Jackson is a theater professor, aspiring stage director, and award-winning audiobook narrator. He is a classically trained actor, and his television and film credits include roles on House, ER, Law & Order, Hack, Sherrybaby, Diary of a City Priest, and Lucky Number Slevin. He is the recipient of more than a dozen Earphones Awards for narration and an Odyssey Honor for G. Neri’s Ghetto Cowboy, and he was also named one of AudioFile magazine’s Best Voices of the Year for 2012 and 2013. An adjunct professor at Los Angeles Southwest College, he has an MFA in theater from Temple University.