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Recent retiree--35 year's experience teaching reading, English, adult basic education and volunteer leadership skills. Started this blog to exchange ideas and commentary with friends and others having an interest in joining the discussions. Greatest life accomplishments include: 1.organized my 3rd grade class to check out library books for me to get around librarian's weekly limit--Amazon.com, the Mullins Elementary 3rd Grade Class of 1956 is still waiting for "thank you" notes; 2. volunteered in the Peace Corps, island of St. Kitts, West Indies; 3.taught adults to read, earn their GEDs., and speak English as a second language; 4. bought a border collie puppy for $6, got evicted rather than give him up, and began a life-long love affair with all things "Dog"; 5. joined a physical fitness boot camp in my mid-50s--don't mess with someone who's been doing regulation pushups in wet grass at 5:30 a.m.; 6. walked across Northern England with best friend Sally--over 80 miles from the Irish to North Seas; and 7. travelled to many foreign countries for pleasure and work.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Tuesday Teaser - The Holy Thief by William Ryan


It is 1936 Moscow. The Stalinist reign of terror is just beginning in Russia. Religion is forbidden, but the Russian Orthodox Church's great art treasures was being pillaged by the government and its criminal element, for sale to dealers and museums in other countries to fund the revolution.

Kazanskaya, Our Lady of Kazan, a 19th century Russian icon is missing from a "deconsecrated" church in Moscow. A young woman's tortured and mutilated body is found on the altar of a Moscow church. How is her murder, and that of several other people in the same manner, connected to the stolen Russian icons? Who is responsible for both crimes? Those are the questions answered by British writer William Ryan in his excellent first novel, The Holy Thief.


Teaser Tuesday is described by its host Miz B over at Should be Reading as a "weekly bookish meme" open to any reader who wants to play along. If, like me, you're always curious about what people are reading or on the lookout for the next great read, then this may be your meme. If you want to play, just click on Miz B's link for the very simple rules.


The Holy Thief
by William Ryan


"Koyla smiled. 'Would you like to know the name of the Chekist commanding the search party? The one who took the icon from us?'
Korolev nodded, half suspecting he knew the answer."
p. 204

Book Description: This novel is first of all a police procedural. A crime is committed. The local police are called out to investigate and solve the crime. As in any police department there are competent, sometimes even brilliant, investigators, and there are slackers and dishonest cops. And there are commanders with hidden, often political or personal, agendas.

This novel is interesting and original in that the investigation is set against the paranoia, fear, and confusion of a country being overrun by a repressive Stalinist government. Captain Alexei Dimitrivich Korolev of the Criminal Investigation Division (much like Scotland Yard) is the good cop assigned to solve the murders. In doing so, he must maneuver between the political NKVD State Security and the Thieves, a prison based mafia responsible for much of the Moscow crime--with the blessings of the NKVD. Korolev must also deal with a fearful, distrusting public as well. All this intrigue makes for an exciting read.

The main thing that I enjoyed about this book is its consistency. It may have been 1936 in a dictatorship, but good police work is the same as in a modern city--investigate, follow the leads, keep good records, build trust, think of justice for the victim, and try to stay clear of the politics. That's what Captain Korolev did.

7 comments:

Creations by Laurel-Rain Snow said...

I love to delve into historic moments occasionally...I just finished a book that took place in 1920s Munich....

Here's my TT, from a memoir:

http://rainysnowday.wordpress.com/2011/01/24/teaser-tuesdays-jan-25/

Sayre said...

Wow - that sounds like a great read! I need to add that to my list of books to read!

AlleluiaLu said...

You've really done a great job of enticing us to read this book!

Here's my teaser: http://bookendcrossing.blogspot.com/2011/01/teaser-tuesdays.html

Have a great day!

kaye said...

intriguing . . . historical fiction is one of my favorite genres. Kaye—the road goes ever ever on

Debs Carr said...

Sounds interesting. My daughter starts her A levels at school next year and for History they're covering Russia from 1880s to 1950s. She can't wait.

BLHmistress said...

Sounds really intriguing- enjoy your read!
My Teaser Tuesday

Heather said...

Sounds like a good mystery, and one that you enjoyed. Thanks for visiting!