Murder in Siberia--with Moscow's middle-aged Inspector Rostnikov (Red Chameleon, etc.) dispatched by the powers-that-be to investigate a politically sensitive killing in far-off, desolate Tumsk. The dead man is one Commissar Rutkin, who was in Tumsk to determine the truth about the death (accidental drowning? murder?) of little Karla, beloved daughter of exiled dissident Lev Samsonov. Was Rutkin killed because of what he had discovered about Karla's demise? Or because he had happened upon some other secret in this ""town of exiles""? Rostnikov, already under a cloud in Moscow, must sleuth with kid gloves-especially since his every move is being monitored by a watchdog from the Procurator's Office. (The Inspector's sidekick, grim Karpo, has also been ordered to inform on his boss.) The suspects include a ""retired"" general, an ex-priest, a hermit-shaman, and the famous dissident himself. . .who's rumored to be ripe for deportation to the West. And meanwhile, back in Moscow, Rostnikov's beloved Jewish wife Sarah undergoes an operation for a brain-tumor--in the more successful of the novel's two subplots. (The other--a frustrating larceny case for undercover cop Tkach, Rostnikov's young protegÃ‰--seems superfluous.) A quiet, small-scale yet satisfying addition to this impressive series--with ale CarrÃ‰-ish final twist, chilly Siberian atmosphere, and the wry, somber portrait of much-beleaguered Inspector Rostnikov.