Rostnikov's Vacation - Stuart M. Kaminsky - ebook

Rostnikov's Vacation ebook

Stuart M. Kaminsky

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Opis

In the faltering Soviet Union, the KGB will do anything to hold on to power. A Jewish man in a squalid government flat finds a killer in his shower. A young punk girl hurtles naked through the window of her apartment. And in the Crimea, at a health retreat for mid-level functionaries, an aging policeman's death is made to look like heart failure. It's this last murder that catches Porfiry Rostnikov's attention. The inspector's wife is recovering from brain surgery, and his superiors at the Moscow police insist he accompany her to the Crimea. There he meets Georgi Vasilievich, a former colleague suffering from emphysema, a bad heart, and an inability to stop working. He is investigating a high-level conspiracy when he dies, and Rostnikov inherits the case, putting him on the trail of a gang of hardline security men who refuse to give up the Soviet dream - and who will go to murderous lengths to ensure that perestroika never comes to pass. About the Author. Stuart M. Kaminsky (1934-2009) was one of the most prolific crime fiction authors of the last four decades. Born in Chicago, he spent his youth immersed in pulp fiction and classic cinema - two forms of popular entertainment which he would make his life's work. After college and a stint in the army, Kaminsky wrote film criticism and biographies of the great actors and directors of Hollywood's Golden Age. In 1977, when a planned biography of Charlton Heston fell through, Kaminsky wrote Bullet for a Star, his first Toby Peters novel, beginning a fiction career that would last the rest of his life. Kaminsky penned twenty-four novels starring the detective, whom he described as "the anti-Philip Marlowe." In 1981's Death of a Dissident, Kaminsky debuted Moscow police detective Porfiry Rostnikov, whose stories were praised for their accurate depiction of Soviet life. His other two series starred Abe Lieberman, a hardened Chicago cop, and Lew Fonseca, a process server. In all, Kaminsky wrote more than sixty novels. He died in St. Louis in 2009. Review quote. "Kaminsky stands out as a subtle historian, unobtrusively but entertainingly weaving into the story itself what people were wearing, eating, driving, and listening to on the radio. A page-turning romp." - Booklist. "If you like your mysteries Sam Spade tough, with tongue-in-cheek and a touch of the theatrical, then the Toby Peters series is just your ticket." - Houston Chronicle. "For anyone with a taste for old Hollywood B-movie mysteries, Edgar winner Kaminsky offers plenty of nostalgic fun . . . The tone is light, the pace brisk, the tongue firmly in cheek." - Publishers Weekly. "Marvelously entertaining." - Newsday. "Makes the totally wacky possible . . . Peters [is] an unblemished delight." - Washington Post. "The Ed McBain of Mother Russia." - Kirkus Reviews.

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Contents

Cover

About the Book

About the Author

Title Page

Copyright Page

Dedication

Epigraph

Prologue

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Looking for more suspense?

Cover

Begin Reading

About the Book

In the faltering Soviet Union, the KGB will do anything to hold on to power.

A Jewish man in a squalid government flat finds a killer in his shower. A young punk girl hurtles naked through the window of her apartment. And in the Crimea, at a health retreat for mid-level functionaries, an aging policeman’s death is made to look like heart failure.

It’s this last murder that catches Porfiry Rostnikov’s attention. The inspector’s wife is recovering from brain surgery, and his superiors at the Moscow police insist he accompany her to the Crimea. There he meets Georgi Vasilievich, a former colleague suffering from emphysema, a bad heart, and an inability to stop working. He is investigating a high-level conspiracy when he dies, and Rostnikov inherits the case, putting him on the trail of a gang of hardline security men who refuse to give up the Soviet dream - and who will go to murderous lengths to ensure that perestroika never comes to pass.

About the Author

Stuart M. Kaminsky (1934-2009) was one of the most prolific crime fiction authors of the last four decades. Born in Chicago, he spent his youth immersed in pulp fiction and classic cinema - two forms of popular entertainment which he would make his life’s work. After college and a stint in the army, Kaminsky wrote film criticism and biographies of the great actors and directors of Hollywood’s Golden Age. In 1977, when a planned biography of Charlton Heston fell through, Kaminsky wrote Bullet for a Star, his first Toby Peters novel, beginning a fiction career that would last the rest of his life.

Kaminsky penned twenty-four novels starring the detective, whom he described as “the anti-Philip Marlowe.” In 1981’s Death of a Dissident, Kaminsky debuted Moscow police detective Porfiry Rostnikov, whose stories were praised for their accurate depiction of Soviet life. His other two series starred Abe Lieberman, a hardened Chicago cop, and Lew Fonseca, a process server. In all, Kaminsky wrote more than sixty novels. He died in St. Louis in 2009.

Rostnikov’s Vacation

An Inspector Porfiry Rostnikov Mystery

Stuart M. Kaminsky

 

BASTEI ENTERTAINMENT

 

Bastei Entertainment is an imprint of Bastei Lübbe AG

 

Copyright © 2015 by Bastei Lübbe AG, Schanzenstraße 6-20, 51063 Cologne, Germany

 

For the original edition:

Copyright © 2012 by The Mysterious Press, LLC, 58 Warren Street, New York, NY. U.S.A.

 

Copyright © 1991 by Stuart M. Kaminsky

 

Project management: Lori Herber

Cover adaptation: Christin Wilhelm, www.grafic4u.de

Cover design by Taylor Cloonan

 

E-book production: Jouve Germany GmbH & Co. KG

 

ISBN 978-3-95859-351-0

 

www.bastei-entertainment.com

 

All rights reserved, including without limitation the right to reproduce this e-book or any portion thereof in any form or by any means, whether electronic or mechanical, now known or hereinafter invented, without the express written permission of the publisher.

 

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, businesses, companies, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

With love for Enid, who made time begin

“Who are you?”

“A pedlar.”

“How is it you know that I am being followed?”

“A friend told me.”

“A spy?”

“Yes.”

“And you are a spy too?”

“No,” said Yevsey. But looking into Zimin’s lean, pale face, he remembered the calm and dull sound of his voice, and without any effort corrected himself. “Yes, I am.”

Maxim Gorky, The Life of a Useless Man, 1907

The KGB is a very conservative organization. It’s been trained to fight international imperialism, Zionism, the Vatican, Radio Liberty, Amnesty International, Titoists, Maoists, and spying organizations. And now they are left without a job. All these bad names have disappeared from the horizon. And so they either go left, as I did, and I am not alone. But most of them go to the right. They say the country is being betrayed, the country’s falling apart. They say we have to stand and fight to the end.

KGB Major General Oleg Kalugin in an address to the Congress of Communist Party Progressives in the Oktober Theater, Moscow, June 1990

Prologue

THE HISTORY OF THE secret police of Russia from the days of the czars to the present is quite convoluted, which is, perhaps, to be expected. The organization has gone through many names and many leaders.

Under the czars, the Okhrana, or the Guard, was created to protect the royal family and its staff from assassination attempts. After the Revolution, at the end of 1917, the Okhrana inspired the Cheka, or Extraordinary Commission, under Felix Dzerzhinsky, who reported directly to Lenin. After Lenin’s death in 1922, the Cheka was reorganized and became the GPU, or State Political Administration. The following year, the name was changed to the OGPU, or United State Political Administration. Eleven years later, in 1934, Stalin murdered the ranking officers of the OGPU and formed the NKVD, or People’s Commisariat of International Affairs. In 1941, Stalin renamed the organization NKGB, or People’s Commisariat of State Security. Five years later it was renamed once more, this time the MGB, or Ministry of State Security. It wasn’t until 1954, however, that the name KGB, or Committee of State Security, was adopted. Who knows when the next change will come.

Col. Nikolai Zhenya of the KGB knew this history well. He considered that history and his own future as he stood at the window of his office at 22 Lubyanka, the Moscow home of both KGB headquarters and the Lubyanka Prison. It was a new office into which the colonel had moved only days before, a larger office, to signify his rapid rise. The lead of the recent coat of gray paint on the walls scratched at his palate and nostrils.

To mask the taste and odor, Zhenya took a long drink from the cup of tepid tea he held in his hand. Nothing changed.

He looked around the office—new desk, new chairs, new photograph of Lenin, but a much smaller, safer photograph of Lenin, a photograph that could easily and quickly be taken down, placed in a file-cabinet drawer, and replaced with a photograph of the Kremlin at dusk. He knew there were those inside the offices around him who were considering whether they should now remove the traditional pictures of Lenin and be just a bit ahead of the other officers on the floor. Or should they wait in case the political tides so changed that their loyalty to revolutionary idealism would be admired while their carefully timed discretion would be respected? It was a game of survival, dependent not upon one’s true beliefs but upon the illusion one could maintain about beliefs.

There were quiet moments like this before the day began, before the first knock at his door, when Colonel Zhenya wondered how long he would be able to enjoy his most recent promotion.

Colonel Zhenya, who had risen rapidly through the ranks and was now, at forty-five, one of the youngest colonels in any branch of the KGB, had never truly enjoyed his successes. He had considered each betrayal, each manipulation, each intrigue in which he had engaged, a fragile rung, one as fine as a spider’s thread in the ladder upward. There was no goal but to keep climbing, to keep distancing oneself farther and farther from the bottom.

The colonel, who was rapidly losing his hair and had taken to brushing it straight and severely back, pushed aside the white curtains and looked down at the traffic that swirled around the thirty-six-foot-high statue of Felix Dzerzhinsky in the square below. Dzerzhinsky had organized the Cheka—the organization that had paved the way for the KGB, “the sword of the Revolution”—for Lenin.

Now the sword of the Revolution was in the hands of the moderates, and they could not even use it to cut cheese. The sword was poised over Colonel Zhenya’s head.

The colonel’s office was on the top floor, and above him, since it was shortly after five in the morning, he could hear the political prisoners being exercised on the roof, their synchronized steps tramping like sheets of heavy rain.

Chapter 1

IN THE EVENING OF the very same spring day that Col. Nikolai Zhenya stood at the window of his new office in Lubyanka, three men, two in Moscow and one in Livadia, less than two miles from Yalta, were out walking.

Before the night was over, one of the men would call his wife, another would witness a murder, and the third man would be dead.

In spite of his burden, Yon Mandelstem walked briskly through the small park just beyond the Sokol Metro Station, from which he had just emerged. The case that bounced against his side was worn like a small mail sack over his shoulder. As an added precaution or to give himself better balance, he also held firmly to the cloth handle of the case.

The clouds above him closed in on the sun, and a faint sound that may have been distant thunder whispered from the west.

Mandelstem, this young, serious-looking, bespectacled man in a dark suit and equally dark tie, looked neither right nor left. He ignored the rusting twenty-foot-tall iron hammer and sickle standing just off the path beyond the trees he was passing. Nor did he even glance at the two boys fishing off the low concrete wall over the pond as he moved on.

One of the boys, a twelve-year-old named Ivan, looked over his shoulder at the blond young man who had begun to perspire from both his pace and the weight of the case and whatever was in it. Ivan thought fleetingly that the man was carrying a very small refrigerator, the kind his grandfather and grandmother had in their apartment on Pushkin Street. The shape was right, perhaps even weight. Something tugged gently at Ivan’s line. It proved to be not a fish but a ripple created by the warning wind of the coming rain. When the boy looked back, the young man with the case was gone.

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!