Wednesday, March 23, 2016

The Dead Mountaineer's Inn

The Dead Mountaineer's Inn, by Boris and Arkady Strugatsky

When the Strugatsky brothers got tired of having their science fiction books constantly pushed around and censored by the Soviet government, they decided to take a break and write a mystery novel for a change.

Inspector Peter Glebsky is on vacation, so he heads up to a remote ski chalet, intending to ski and drink a lot and generally lounge about in the peace and quiet.  At the chalet, he meets a bizarre conglomeration of people--a famous magician and his nephew (niece?), a physicist, a possible thug, a rich man and his socialite wife among them.  Plus maybe the ghost of the dead mountaineer, who steals things.  An avalanche cuts them all off and a Norwegian stranger is found dead, so Glebsky plans to figure this out--despite being the kind of police inspector who finds embezzlers, not murderers, and possibly not a policeman at all.  And the Strugatskys really can't resist throwing a little science-fiction weirdness in among all the strange antics they've already got going on.

As always with those two guys, it's a strange, surreal, and entertaining tale.


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