What is the connection between a psychotic woman carrying a trombone case for most unmusical purposes through the streets of Moscow and the theft of the deputy procurator's much-prized automobile? How does the slaying of a young policeman by a sniper relate to the murder of aged Abraham as he reads Izvestia in the bathtub, by intruders who steal a worthless brass candlestick on their way out? And why is it that Abraham's crippled daughter Sofiya is driven by ambivalent feelings toward her dead father? These are among the conundrums confronting Inspector Porfiry Rostnikov of the Moscow Procurator's Office as he trudges painfully through his rounds (like Sofiya, he has a game leg), teasing humorless underlings, sparring with members of the KGB, squinting jaundice-eyed into the cobwebbed corners of the political establishment, where no light shines. Despite a certain ungainliness in scenes of action, the narrative moves easily to an unhappily credible, ironic conclusion. And Rostnitkov, his hopes of emigration with his Jewish wife dashed, faces yet another professional setback with stoic resignation.
Original title: Red Chameleon
Genre: Fiction→ Crime and Mystery→ Detective Story and Detectives