Saturday, January 2, 2010

Sister Pelagia and the Black Monk

Akunin, Boris. Sister Pelagia and the Black Monk. New York: Random House, 2008.

Submitted by Mark Schneider

I greatly enjoyed Boris Akunin's second novel in the Sister Pelagia
trilogy: Sister Pelagia and the Black Monk. Set roughly a century and
a half ago in Russia, the not-your-average nun Sister Pelagia, who has
a penchant for solving mysteries, takes on the task of unraveling the
peculiar deaths and hauntings at the remote monastery at New Ararat.
Sister Pelagia does so without the blessings of Bishop Mitrofanii, but
only after several other investigators sent by the bishop have died or
gone mad at the hands of the spectral Black Monk, and after the Bishop
himself has collapsed from shock and grief at the unfolding
catastrophe. Sister Pelagia risks her life and excommunication to
find out whether the culprit is evil spirit, criminal mastermind, or
madman. If you like mystery writers such as Tony Hillerman or Randy
Wayne White, where the novel is as much about culture and history as
figuring out whodunit, you'll love Akunin's novels, and the Black Monk
is probably my favorite among them.

The Grinnell College Libraries are well stocked with books by Boris Akunin (Akunin, B. (Boris)), but all but one are in Russian. The one is The Winter Queen. Burling 3rd Floor PG3478.K78 A9713 2003.

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