Published July 01, 2013

Murder at the Dacha

  • by Alexei Bayer

Murder at the Dacha
  • 320 pages
  • ISBN: 978-1-880100-81-3
  • $16
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Senior Lieutenant Pavel Matyushkin has a problem. Several, actually. Not the least of them is the fact that a powerful Soviet boss has been murdered, and Matyushkin's surly commander has given him an unreasonably short time frame to close the case.

Then there is the KGB colonel who seems a bit too interested in the course of Matyushkin's investigation... and Pavel's womanizing office mate, who gets involved with a subject of the case... and a series of petty burglaries that defy resolution... and of course Pavel's complicated love interest, who is as prickly as she is perceptive... 

In his debut Russian crime novel set in 1960s Moscow, Alexei Bayer peels back the layers of late Soviet life to offer a vivid, gripping tale of deception, greed, murder, and a simple detective just trying to do his job.

Professional Reviews

"Bayer tells a taut, gritty tale that gives a fresh and revealing insight into the Soviet Union of the Khrushchev years. Not only that, but in Pavel Matyushkin, his tough and self-confident hero, he has developed a great detective that leaves readers wanting more. Now."

– William Ryan, author of The Holy ThiefThe Darkening Field, and The Twelfth Department.


"A terrific read, capturing the atmospherics of Moscow half a century ago."

– Andrew Nagorski, award-winning journalist and Vice President  and Director of Public Policy at the EastWest Institute 

Selected as one of Great Books of 2013 by RBTH.

Reader Reviews

"A wonderful read. Gentle, human story but in the context of a pretty hideous environment, being the Soviet Union in the mid sixties. First person narrative endears the protagonist to the tray pretty quickly, and the plot was superb, jinking about and avoiding cliché beautifully." {Steve Johnson / Amazon}

"I loved this book and stayed up half the night to find out whodunit and why..." {Jane Austen / Amazon}

"The author has created wonderful, complex characters in a plot with many twists and turns. It's one of those mysteries where every detail is important. The setting of the story in 1960's Moscow also gives the story another level of suspense within the byzantine political system." {bbvt / Amazon}

"A completely engaging pre-Glasnost period piece in addition to being a first rate detective novel! Complex and tightly written this reads as the terrific beginning to a Matyushkin series." {Annete Delara / Amazon}

"Well written mystery. Alexei Bayer weaves an interesting tale of Soviet era intrigue and treachery among local police and KGB in the city of Moscow and at a country dacha, involving local peasants to the upper ranks of Moscow's privileged bureaucrats." {diwin / Amazon}

"This book will keep your undivided attention until its end, as you follow detective Matyushkin's discovery of connections between the Soviet elite and the Russian criminal underworld. Although this is a work of fiction, it follows real historical facts, and makes you to appreciate the Soviet history of 60s..." {Elizabeth, NY / Amazon}

About the Author

Alexei Bayer is a New York-based author, translator and, by economic necessity, an economist. He writes in English and in Russian, his native tongue, and translates into both languages. His short stories have been published in New England Review, Kenyon Review, and ChteniaMurder at the Dacha is also being published in Russian, in Russia, in 2013.

Other Books in the Series

The Latchkey Murders

Senior Lieutenant Pavel Matyushkin is back on the case in this prequel to the popular mystery Murder at the Dacha, in which a serial killer is on the loose in Khrushchev’s Moscow...

Murder and the Muse

KGB Chief Andropov has tapped Matyushkin to solve a brazen jewel heist from Picasso’s wife at the posh Metropole Hotel. But when the case bleeds over into murder, machinations, and international intrigue, not everyone is eager to see where the clues might lead.

The Samovar Murders

The murder of a poet is always more than a murder. When a famous writer is brutally stabbed on the campus of Moscow’s Lumumba University, the son of a recently deposed African president confesses, and the case assumes political implications that no one wants any part of.

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Russian Life is a publication of a 30-year-young, award-winning publishing house that creates a bimonthly magazine, books, maps, and other products for Russophiles the world over.

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