A Razor Wrapped in Silk

St Petersburg. 1870. A child factory worker is mysteriously abducted. A society beauty is sensationally murdered. Two very different crimes show up the deep fissures in Russian society of the late tsarist period. The first is barely noticed by the authorities. The latter draws the full investigative might of St Petersburg’s finest, led by magistrate Porfiry Petrovich.

The dead woman had powerful friends – including at least one member of the Romanov family – so when the tsar’s notorious secret police becomes involved, it seems that both crimes may have a political – not to say revolutionary – aspect. A trail of missing children leads to a shocking discovery that takes Porfiry inside the Winter Palace for a confrontation with the Tsar himself. The usually incisive magistrate grows increasingly unsure what to believe, who to trust and how to proceed. His very life appears to be in danger, though from whom he can’t be sure …

What the critics say

“The streets of St Petersburg are vividly portrayed as the author shows the imperial Russian capital on the brink of upheaval… If you like historical crime novels, you will enjoy this.”

Historical Novels Review

“A multi-layered crime narrative, a history lesson and an inspiration to explore classic C19th Russian fiction.  3 for the price of  one. Good value for my reading time? I should say so. Bring on book four!”

Lizzie’s Literary Life

“The book perfectly evokes the foggy, dangerous atmosphere of St Petersburg in those times and highlights the contrast between the wretchedly poor and the effete lifestyles of the aristocracy. R.N.Morris, a Londoner born in Manchester, must know his history and his Russian city very well indeed to be able to hijack one of Dostoevsky’s characters and activate him with such convincing authenticity in a place so far away in time and space.”

Bernard Knight, Tangled Web

“A Razor Wrapped In Silk is both an excellent crime mystery, and fascinating portrait of Russian society in a period when the Tsar made a series of great reforms in an attempt to prevent revolution.”

Crime Scraps

“…a brilliantly atmospheric sense of place, contrasting a demi-monde murder (with royal connections?) and the abduction and murder of children who toil as factory workers in the St Petersburg of 1870.”

Mike Ripley, Shots Ezine

“…richly complex and located well within the tradition of Russian literature… It’s a clever, disturbing portrayal of the murky underworld of St Petersburg circa 1870, and the aristocrats and entrepreneurs who lived, so they believed, out of the reach of the law.”

Beverley Roos Muller, Cape Argus

“This third outing in R N Morris’s fine series starring Porfiry Petrovich is a little gem… a wonderfully atmospheric novel, beautifully descriptive and portraying a society on the brink of upheaval. You feel drawn into the shadowy world of politics and revolt that is brewing in St Petersburg. It’s 1870 and the seeds of industrial unrest are beginning to germinate in St Petersburg where, in just over 30 years, strikes will herald the start of a revolution.”

Pat Austin, Euro Crime