Assassination in London by Elizabeth Consalvi

Assassination in London by Elizabeth Consalvi
Publisher: Self-published
Genre: Suspense/Mystery, Contemporary
Length: Short Story (38 pages)
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

Trained in the Kremlin-supported youth activist camps to “break up fascist demonstrations and prevent with force any attempt to overthrow the constitution”; rewarded for thuggery and brutality; Alexei is seen to have promise, and is selected to continue his university education in London, UK.

Among his obligations to the motherland are to undermine, on request, the business activities of “enemies of the state” living in London. He must also hold himself in readiness to perform a major service for his country, should this be required.

When he receives the word, he positions himself in a restaurant in Mayfair, to await the arrival of a visiting Russian dignitary…

Sometimes the needs of the state outweigh the needs of an individual. If only there were an easy way to tell when this is actually the case.

This story includes many detailed descriptions of the political and social climate of Russia. Some of the terms were written in Russian with the English translation following it in brackets. I rarely see this done in the mystery genre, but it made me want to learn more about this beautiful language. More than once I was grateful for all of the extra information because it referenced so many things that I hadn’t heard of before.

With that being said, there were a few times when the background information threatened to overwhelm the plot. A novella or full-length book could have easily set aside a few chapters to explain recent Russian history to the readers, but using that much space in a short story made the pacing feel uneven. It also made it more difficult for me to remember what was going on once the focus of the plot shifted back to Alexi.

The mystery itself was compelling. It’s difficult to discuss it in great detail with wandering into spoiler territory, but I liked how Ms. Consalvi wove everything together. She did a good job presenting thought-provoking clues to intelligent characters who take their work seriously and aren’t swayed by unimportant details. This is the kind of tale I’d pass along to friends who prefer the serious, intellectual side of this genre.

I’d recommend Assassination in London to anyone with a keen interest in Russian politics or history. There are many things to discover about those topics between these pages.

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