A Vengeful Longing is the sequel to R. N. Morris’s highly acclaimed A Gentle Axe, once again featuring the brilliant detective Porfiry Petrovich from Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment in another gripping, atmospheric murder story.
It is the middle of a hot, dusty St Petersburg summer in the late 1860s. A doctor’s wife and son die suddenly – and in excruciating pain. The doctor is arrested, suspected of poisoning. As investigator Porfiry Petrovich concedes, in such cases the obvious solution often turns out to be the correct one. And in the city’s stifling, stinking atmosphere, even he lacks the energy to look any deeper. But when further (and apparently unconnected) murders occur, something like a pattern seems to emerge. Porfiry is forced to reassess his assumptions and follow a tenuous, uncertain trail that takes him into the hidden, squalid heart of the city and brings him face to face with incomprehensible horror and cruelty.