There has been another murder in the city - and somehow he is implicated. Anna Petrovna, the society beauty plagued with nightmares with whom he is steadily and inappropriately falling in love, and troubled genius Rozental, the brilliant but mentally fragile chess master, due to play the most important competition of his life - the spectacular St. Petersburg chess tournament - but on the verge of a complete breakdown. Where magnificence and squalor co-exist, there will always be envy, rage, cruelty, paranoia and violence. He is preoccupied, too, by two new patients: Five days later, Dr. Otto Spethmann, famous psychoanalyst, receives a visit from the police. He is mystified - and deeply worried, as much for his young, spirited daughter as for himself. This title is set in St Petersburg, 1914: imposing and shabby, monumental and squalid, and - under its surface of frosty glamour - seething with plots and secret allegiances. On a blustery April day, O. V. Gulko, a respected newspaper editor, is murdered in front of a shocked crowd. With the city rife with speculation and alarm, Spethmann broods over his own chessboard, its pieces frozen mid-battle, and contemplates the many forces - political, historical, sexual - that are holding him in their grasp.
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