Reading Martin Cruz Smith's Gorky Park. Had tried to read it when I was at Rourkela...couldn't finish it. Well, I was a kid then; this time, I think I will. Its a little ho-hum as a murder mystery. First thing, you do not even know the identity of the three people who were killed(they are discovered in Gorky Park, their faces carved off, their digits chopped off, so there is no identity), so you can't hatch conspiracy theories of your own. Second Renko(the hero) is so convinced that the KGB did it(who else?) , that you believe him, and so there is no mystery at all!
But the description of life in the USSR is v v good. There is one scene I loved, where Renko is at a party, and the hosts show him their new washing machine, 'top of the line' - one they waited 10 months for, where they could have got another model in 3 months, cos they wanted the best. Then they try to give Renko a demo and the machine breaks down. They almost bring the machine to pieces trying to fix it, but no, it doesn't work. Then as good hosts they ask Renko not to tell Natasha, who just got a new piece for herself. Unfortunately Natasha finds a loose knob from the machine lying around, and so they have to confess that the washer 'isn't quite working'. Natsha is not bothered:
' "That's all right. We can still show it to people." She seemed genuinely content.'