The film is good but the book is so much better. The intrigue bristles through every page and the cold Russian setting is incredibly effective as a background to the grisly murder investigation.
There are also wonderful touches which carry the plot forward, such as the exceptional use of the 1812 overture.
Arkady Renko is a great detective. There is nothing flashy about him; he has no quirks or foibles. But it is just this which makes him special. His personality does not get in the way of the story.
After nearly thirty years, I saw it on my bookshelf and had a sudden yearning to read it again. I have now ordered the subsequent novels in the series and am looking forward to picking up Arkady’s story from where I left it.