DEATH ON THE NEVSKII PROSPEKT and DEATH ON HOLY MOUNTAIN, by David Dickinson
I really hate it when an author is not only talented but good lookin'...some people get all the breaks. Dickinson's talent is in, among other things, creating the elegant world in which Lord Frances Powerscourt and his lovely wife Lady Lucy, move so effortlessly. In Nevskii Prospekt, of course, the action is in St Petersburg, Russia, during the uncertain period before the Revolution. Dickinson perfectly portrays the gulf between the heedless and arrogant aristocracy and the starving, huddled masses, the beauty above and the incredible cruelty and ugliness that was beneath the glittery surface. In Holy Mountain, the endless Irish Question is brought to the fore as Powerscourt investigates seemingly innocuous theft of family portraits. The author has a great ear for dialect, puts his hero in the appropriate dicey situations, and never loosed control of his story. These two easy reads, part of a long series, are 4 (I wish the dialogue was stightly less stilted, but I guess that's how they spoke in the mid 1800's). Read them in order, with these it does matter.