Literature/ErastFandorin is the eponymous protagonist of a highly popular Russian HistoricalDetectiveFiction series set in the 19th century. He starts off as a regular police clerk in Moscow in 1876 and eventually becomes a GreatDetective of international renown, on one occasion employed even by the {{Tsar|istRussia}} himself. Early in his career, he exiles himself to Japan, learns the ways of the {{ninja}}s, and returns even more {{badass}} than before. Later in his life, he becomes a technology {{geek}} (while retaining his badassitude, of course) with a special fondness for {{Cool Car}}s.

The books were written by Boris Akunin (his real name is Grigory Shalvovich Chkhartishvili but it's [[{{Gesundheit}} too difficult to pronounce]]) and noted for their eloquent writing style, remarkable characters, intelligent mysteries, and countless references to Russian history and literature. Every book in the series belongs to a different subgenre of detective mystery (GovernmentConspiracy, SpyDrama, ProfessionalKiller mystery, etc.). English translations were published for every novel through ''The Diamond Chariot''. Akunin has also written several novels set in the present day and starring Fandorin's grandson Nicholas Fandorin.

The series currently consists of following novels:

# ''The Winter Queen'' (1998, originally known as ''Azazel''): [[TheConspiracy Conspiracy]] mystery, set in Moscow and London in 1876.
# ''The Turkish Gambit'' (1998): SpyDrama, set in Bulgaria during the Russo-Turkish war of 1877. Adapted into a [[Film/TheTurkishGambit movie]] in 2005.
# ''Murder on the Leviathan'' (1998): ClosedCircle murder mystery, set on a CoolBoat en route from Southampton to Calcutta in 1878.
# ''The Death of Achilles'' (1998): ProfessionalKiller mystery, set in Moscow, [[TimeSkip 1882]].
# ''Special Assignments'' (1999): Two novellas in a single volume:
## ''The Jack of Spades'': Rather light-hearted ConMan mystery, set in Moscow, 1886.
## ''The Decorator'': [[MoodWhiplash Extremely gory]] SerialKiller mystery, set in Moscow, 1889.
# ''The State Counsellor'' (2000): "[[YourTerroristsAreOurFreedomFighters Political]]" mystery, set in Moscow in 1891.
# ''The Coronation'' (2000): BlueBlood mystery, set in Moscow around the time of the last Tsar's coronation in 1896.
# ''She Lover of Death'' (2001): DrivenToSuicide mystery, set in Moscow, 1900.
# ''He Lover of Death'' (2001): [[Literature/OliverTwist Dickensian]] mystery, [[HeroOfAnotherStory taking place simultaneously]] with ''She Lover of Death''.
# ''The Diamond Chariot'' (2003): Two interconnected novels set in reverse order:
## Part 1: SpyDrama, set in and around Moscow, 1905, during the UsefulNotes/RussoJapaneseWar.
## Part 2: A mix of political intrigue and hired killer mystery... [-[[RecycledInSpace IN JAPAN]]-]. Set in Yokohama, 1878.
# ''Jade Rosary Beads'' (2006): A collection of short stories, most of which are {{homage}}s to famous detective mystery authors.
## "Shigumo": Sanyutei Encho homage, set in Yokohama, 1881.
## "Table-Talk, 1882": Creator/EdgarAllanPoe homage, set in Moscow, 1882.
## "From the Lives of Woodchips": Creator/GeorgesSimenon homage, set in Moscow, 1883.
## "Jade Rosary Beads": [[JudgeDee Robert van Gulik]] homage, set in Moscow, 1884.
## "The Scarpea of the Baskakovs": Creator/ArthurConanDoyle homage, set near Moscow, 1888.
## "One Tenth Percent": [[Film/StrangersOnATrain Patricia Highsmith]] homage, set in Moscow, 1890.
## "Tea in Bristol": Creator/AgathaChristie homage, set in Bristol, 1891.
## "Dream Valley": [[TheLegendOfSleepyHollow Washington Irving]] homage, set in Wyoming, 1894.
## "Before the End of the World": Creator/UmbertoEco homage, set in the Russian North, 1897.
## "The Prisoner of the Tower, or A Short But Beautiful Journey of Three Wise Men": [[Literature/ArseneLupin Maurice Leblanc]] homage, set in northern France, 1899.
# ''All the World's a Stage'' (2009): Theatrical mystery, set in Moscow, 1911.
# ''The Black City'' (2012): Set in Yalta and Baku, 1914.

Akunin also wrote an original stage play starring Fandorin, titled ''Yin and Yang''.

!!The series provides examples of:

* AgentProvocateur: ''The State Councilor'' novel contains enough of these to make Erast Fandorin swear he'll never take political cases again.
* AKA47: Fandorin usually uses a fictional "Herstal-Agent" revolver. It is small, flattish, accurate only at short distances, and holds seven cartridges - all in all, a revolver {{Expy}} of then-not-yet-designed FN-Browning M1900 (a.k.a. Browning No.1) semiautomatic. The name "Herstal-Agent" is a ShoutOut - Herstal being the Belgian town there FN firearms factory is located. From the later part of ''The Diamond Chariot'' and onwards Fandorin uses a Browning semiautomatic.
* AnachronicOrder: The entire series. The first 9 1/2 novels track Fandorin's life from 1876 to 1905--but Part II of ''The Diamond Chariot'' leaps back to 1878. The next book, ''Jade Rosary Beads'', fills in Fandorin's adventures in the 1880s. Then with ''All the World's a Stage'' Akunin jumps forward to 1911 to pick up the progress of Fandorin's life again.
* AnachronismStew: Akunin does this on occasion deliberately, for humorous effect. ''The Winter Queen'' has Fandorin using a telephone in Moscow in 1876--the same year that the telephone was being invented in the United States.
** Of note, however, is the fact that Fandorin is attributed numerous timeline appropriate advances in criminalistic science, or at least incorporating them into his methods as soon as they're invented elsewhere, much to the chagrin of criminals who have never heard of fingerprint tracing or telephone eavesdropping before. He also keeps ahead of the times in other ways - for example, he's nearly the only person who has an automobile in a turn-of-the-century Moscow.
* AntiVillain: Boris Akunin simply loves those (the latter part of his own pseudonym means "villain" in Japanese, but was redefined to mean "one who creates his own rules" as stated in ''The Diamond Chariot''), so many if not most villains have shades of this to some extent or another.
* ArcNumber: ''11'' in ''All the World's a Stage''
* ArcWords: in every novel (with one exception) there's someone named Moebius. Among them there are a photographer, a RedShirt policeman, a notarius... So far Boris Akunin has refused to explain whether the name has any special meaning.
** On a lesser scale, "Azazel" in ''The Winter Queen''. It doubled as a TitleDrop in original Russian.
* AscendedFanboy: Anisiy Tulipov, towards Fandorin: he starts off as one of the many Fandorin fanboys among the younger police clerks in Moscow and eventually becomes his personal assistant and protege.
* AssholeVictim: Merchant Eropkin (''The Jack of Spades'').
** Subverted in ''The State Councellor'' -- everyone thinks of Hrapov as one, but he appears to be more of a WellIntentionedExtremist (with a bit of LawfulStupid mixed in).
* AuthorAvatar: Mr. Freyby in ''The Coronation''.
** The character's name is also a bit of BilingualBonus for the tech-savvy: if you try to type "Акунин" ("Akunin" in Cyrillic) on a standard [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:KB_Russian.svg Windows Russian]]/QWERTY keyboard with the language set to English instead of Russian you will get "Freyby".
* AuthorAppeal: Boris Akunin, real-life Japanophile and professional translator of Japanese into Russian, referenced Japanese culture often, starting with Aono in ''Murder on the Leviathan'' and continuing with Masa, Fandorin's sidekick starting with ''The Death of Achilles''. But in ''The Diamond Chariot'' he takes it UpToEleven, recounting Fandorin's adventures in Japan, inserting lengthy discussions of Buddhism and the way of the ninja, and towards the end forgetting the plot for an entire chapter where Fandorin and Masa study at a ninja training camp.
* AvoidingTheGreatWar: Towards the end of ''The Black City'', Fandorin is hired to investigate the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand before the conflict escalates. Unfortunately, he never makes it to Austria in time [[spoiler:because he is shot in the head by a treacherous ally]].
* BadassGrandpa: Xavery Grushin in ''The Winter Queen'' and especially ''Death of Achilles'', who also doubles as OldMaster, CoolOldGuy, RetiredBadass, and pretty much any of other benevolent {{Mentors}}.
* BadGuyBar: The Katorga Taverne in the ''Death of Achilles''.
* BattleButler: Masa fits this trope to the T.
* BigDamnHeroes: [[spoiler: Zurov]] in ''The Winter Queen'', Fandorin in ''The Jack of Spades''.
* BigSecret: half the characters in ''Murder on the Leviathan'' either have this or seem like it (which is enough to throw off the investigation).
* BittersweetEnding: Fandorin's victories seldom come without a price. Also, in a more specific example, [[spoiler:in ''The Turkish Gambit'' Fandorin manages to stop the villain's EvilPlan before its final and most disastrous (for the Russians) stage could commence, the villain ends up shooting himself, and the war is won, but it is very much a PyrrhicVictory, lots of [[RedShirtArmy soldiers]] and several characters are dead, and Fandorin himself [[ButNowIMustGo leaves for Japan]]]].
** In ''Murder on the Leviathan'' several of the main protagonists end up dead, one is gravely wounded, not counting ten victims of the murder that sets the whole plot in motion. The perpetrator is captured [[spoiler: but the plan was so meticulous that the mastermind is supposed to get off with a short prison term]], also, the goal of the perpetrator, [[spoiler: a fortune in gems]] is possibly lost forever.
** In ''The Winter Queen'', Fandorin successfully solves the Azazel's case, but not before an assassin hired by his opponents makes and attempt on his life, [[spoiler:killing the woman he has married just hours before]].
** In ''Decorator'', Fandorin manages to catch the extremely dangerous deranged serial killer (who happens to be [[spoiler:JackTheRipper himself]]) and then [[spoiler:executes him]] but is left by his lover, who says she cannot live with [[spoiler:a man who can kill defenseless captive]], even though she understands it was necessary. Also [[spoiler:Anisiy Tulipov and his sister]] are murdered by the killer.
* BenevolentBoss: Xavery Grushin (see CoolOldGuy below) and Prince Dolgorukoi. [[spoiler:Every other boss who seems to fit the description at first either betrays the protagonist in the end, or is not there for long.]]
* BodyguardCrush: [[spoiler:Zafar for Saadat-hanum]] in ''The Black City''.
* BoisterousBruiser:
** Ippolit Zurov (a somewhat darker example, given his BloodKnight and ByronicHero tendencies).
** In ''The Black City'', Kara-Gasym [[spoiler:plays this straight until the subversion in the very end]].
* TheBookCipher: Used by the German spy in ''The Death of Achilles''.
* BornLucky: Fandorin himself. He suspects it's the universe's way of compensating for his father's very bad luck (and the resulting gambling debts).
** Once Fandorin even uses this to check a suspicious lottery: he doesn't win and deduces that the lottery must be rigged. [[spoiler:He's right.]]
** When playing cards for the first time in ''The Winter Queen'', he bet his life against Zurov's... [[spoiler:and lost. As he was about to shoot himself, Zurov stopped him, and]] Fandorin seemingly got a blank check from Fortune since.
*** It's pretty clear, though, that Zurov cheated, just like he did with the revolver Fandorin tried shooting himself with (Zurov's servant removed the bullets without anyone noticing).
* ButNowIMustGo: Disgusted with the corruption of Tsarist government, Fandorin spurns an offer to be chief of police in Moscow and quits at the end of ''The State Counsellor''.
* CallForward: Repeatedly over the course of the series.
** The main villain's prediction in ''The Winter Queen'', about the violent, destructive ways that modernization and change will manifest themselves in the world if they are not managed, comes true in Russia in 1917.
** In ''The Death of Achilles'', Achimas muses how OutWithABang would be acceptable for a French leader but dishonorable for a Russian one. Fast-forward 17 years later, to the death of French president Félix Faure...
** "....There are already too many empires in the world--any minute now [[UsefulNotes/WorldWarI they will all start wrangling with each other]]." Doronin in ''The Diamond Chariot''. He also foresees the collapse of those empires, as well as Japan's expansion into continental Asia and confrontation with Russia.
** The last line of ''The Coronation'' is spoken by Mr. Freyby, who correctly guesses that Nicholas II will be "the last of the Romanovs".
* CannotSpitItOut: Gintaro Aono in ''Murder on the Leviathan'', about [[spoiler: him being a doctor and his missing scalpel]]. This got him arrested, [[spoiler: though he was released pretty quickly thanks to Fandorin's intervention]].
* CampGay: Lord Banville and Mr. Carr in ''The Coronation''.
** Especially Mr. Carr. Lord Banville borders on the MachoCamp.
* CartwrightCurse
* CatchPhrase: Not exactly, but Fandorin's characteristic way of reaching a EurekaMoment by deduction: "The suspect did so-and-so - that is one. The car was parked at the corner of this and that street - that is two..."
* TheCavalry: A literal example in ''The Turkish Gambit'': Sobolev's {{cossacks}} arrive to rescue Fandorin and Varvara from the Bashi-bazouks.
* TheChessmaster: Marie Sanfon in 'Murder on the Leviathan'.
* CompletelyDifferentTitle: The original Russian title of ''The Winter Queen'' is ''Azazel'', a reference to the secret society at the center of the mystery. The English title is a random reference to a hotel Fandorin stays at.
* ConMan: Momos.
* CoolCar: What counts for one back in the 19th century...
* CoolOldGuy: Prince Dolgurokoi. He gets a CrowningMomentOfAwesome when he shocks his fellow aristocrats by sitting next to a fire-breathing young revolutionary at a dinner and arguing politics, and at the end she comments 'what a nice old man', shocking Fandorin in turn.
* CrimeAfterCrime
* CultureClash:
** Between the Japanese and the Europeans (including Russians).
** Also, in ''The Death of Achilles'', between Anabaptist German refugees and Muslim Chechen natives.
* CulturedBadass: Fandorin
* CursedWithAwesome: Fandorin's luck at gambling.
* CutShort: Possibly the fate of the series for English-speaking readers. The British publisher of the Fandorin series ominously refers to ''The Diamond Chariot'' as [[http://www.orionbooks.co.uk/books/the-diamond-chariot-hardback the "finale"]], despite the fact that two more books have been published in Russia with at least one more on the way.
* DashedPlotLine: The first half of part two of ''The Death of Achilles'', which describes Achimas' life until his Moscow assignment, jumps many years between significant events in his youth, his turn to crime, and major assassination missions.
** Also, the series as a whole, which follows Fandorin at the key points of his career and life.
* DeadAllAlong: Though never confirmed due to lack of OmniscientNarrator, it is heavily implied that [[spoiler: Emily]], recipient of [[spoiler: letters written by Reginald Milford-Stokes]] from ''Murder on the Leviathan'' is actually dead. There are several clues related to this death before the denouement.
* DeathSeeker: a whole club of these in ''She-Lover of Death''... although their sincerity rather differs.
* ADeathInTheLimelight: Fandorin is the POV character for most of the second part of ''The Diamond Chariot'', but three of his fellow investigators get their own POV chapters, in order, where each of them is killed off.
* DetectiveMole: [[spoiler: Brilling]] in ''The Winter Queen''.
* {{Determinator}}: Achimas Welde, Mr. Green.
* DiabolicalMastermind: Dr. Lind is Fandorin's personal ArchNemesis, much like Prof. Moriarty was to Holmes.
* DisproportionateReward
* DoesNotLikeWomen: There's speculation that Dr Lind is this due to the fact that his gang only contains men. [[spoiler: However, see below under ThePowerOfLove and SamusIsAGirl]]
* DroppedABridgeOnHim: Almost happens with Masa in ''The Black City''. He's not dead but critically wounded and stays out of the action most of the time.
* DubNameChange: Charles d'Hevrais became Charles ''Paladin'' in Bromfield's translation of ''The Turkish Gambit'' (justified because [[spoiler:"d'Hevrais" (French "from Hevrais") is a huge giveaway of Charles' real identity, namely, Anwar Effendi (born in the town of Hevrais); it works well in Russian because the Cyrillic spelling of "d'Hevrais" and "Hevrais" are almost nothing alike but in English, it would be a ruinous spoiler]]). Later, Anisiy Tulpanov became Anisiy ''Tulipov'' (because "tulpan" is Russian for "tulip" and Anisiy's family is explained to have been named after that flower).
* DuelToTheDeath: Colonel Lukan vs. D'Hevrais in ''The Turkish Gambit'', Fandorin vs. Bullcox in ''The Diamond Chariot''.
* EarlyInstallmentWeirdness: The first three novels can read like this, especially ''The Winter Queen/Azazel'', because Fandorin has not yet acquired most of his quirks and methods he consistently shows from ''The Death of Achilles'' onward: at first, he does not stutter, his temples are not grey yet, he doesn't number his arguments with his signature jade rosary beads, has no mad ninja skills and no devoted Japanese butler, etc., etc. In short, he is just a regular young police investigator who just happens to have been BornLucky.
* EvenEvilHasStandards: Revolutionary terrorist Mr. Green doesn't mind killing cops and government officials, but refused to kill a servant.
** Cops and officials were considered enemies of the people by the revolutionaries while servants were treated like 'the oppressed class'.
* EvenTheGuysWantHim: Erast Fandorin
* EurekaMoment
* {{Expy}}: [[SignificantAnagram Miss Palmer]] for Literature/MissMarple.
** Several Expies for historical figures - Sobolev for Skobelev in for example.
* FalseReassurance: In ''The State Councellor'' BigBad gives to Fandorin a BreakingSpeech and then offers a choice: fight him, join him or just keep silent. Fandorin chooses to keep silent. Where is the catch? Fandorin holds information that could save BigBad's life.
* FemmeFatale: Amalia Bezhetskaya in ''The Winter Queen''. Marie Sanfon in ''Murder on the Leviathan''. [[spoiler: Dr.Lind, anyone?]]
* FieryRedhead / [[spoiler:EvilRedhead]]: Ashlyn Calligan in "Dream Valley".
* TheFilmOfTheBook: ''The Winter Queen'', ''TheTurkishGambit'' and ''The State Counsellor'' were adapted either as short TV Series or movies. A new movie version of ''The Winter Queen'' is on its way.
* FingerInTheMail: ''The Coronation'' [[spoiler:includes a subversion of the ransom demand variation; the hostage was killed immediately after the finger was cut off as part of the villain's EvilPlan.]]
* FirstGrayHair: Clarissa Stump has a moment like this in ''Murder on the Leviathan'', and it is implied to not be the first time. She rips it out but is immediately ashamed of herself being in denial about her age.
* ForegoneConclusion: In the end of ''The Black City'', [[spoiler:Fandorin is shot in the head by a traitor. This takes place in 1914, and if you have read ''Altyn-Tolobas'', you should know that Erast's son and Nicholas Fandorin's father Alexander was born in 1920, making sure that Fandorin would have to stay alive for at least five more years]].
* {{Foreshadowing}}: A lot; one example that stands out is in ''The Coronation'' when Fandorin muses frantically on what a character was about to shout out about Dr Lind before being cut off, with his examples being treated as throwaway lines - [[spoiler:"Is he a woman?"]]
* FrenchJerk: Gustave Gauche.
* FreudianExcuse: Lampshaded by Gustave Gauche and used by [[spoiler:Renier]] in ''Murder on the Leviathan''.
* FrozenFlower: Fandorin turns into one of the rare male variety after the first book [[spoiler:when he witnesses his beloved wife blown to pieces]]. He then thaws again in ''Diamond Chariot'' [[spoiler:only to end up with the motionless body of another lover in his arms]]. His final thaw happens in ''All the World's a Stage''... and apparently lasts.
* TheFundamentalist: Mother Kirilla in the ''Before the End of the World''.
* FunetikAksent: German, folk Russian and Japanese.
* FunnyForeigner: Gintaro Aono in ''Murder on the Leviathan'' seems to be this, partly because of his ludicrous accent; it's handily subverted in the parts of the novel that are written from ''his'' point of view, though. Also lampshaded, as he realizes that he can use his status of FunnyForeigner (a 'wild Asian' as he puts it) to appear in his loose and light traditional Japanese garb, much better suited to the scorching heat than woolen European suits all other upper-class men are obliged to wear.
* GermanRussians: Fandorin is from a Russified German family (originally "[[TheVonTropeFamily Von Dorn]]").
* GoodbyeCruelWorld: the scornfully nihilistic suicide note in the beginning of ''The Winter Queen''. The villain's confession in ''Murder on the Leviathan'' [[spoiler: seems to be this at first]].
* GoodEyesEvilEyes: Achimas Welde has whitish, almost transparent eyes. (The TV adaptation gives him different colored eyes.)
* GovernmentConspiracy: [[spoiler:The clients behind General Sobolev's murder in ''The Death of Achilles'', who thus prevented him from starting a coup d'état.]]
** Also in [[spoiler:''The State Counsellor'', when Fandorin approaches the new Governor-General of Moscow (and relative of the Tsar) with evidence of Pozharsky's crimes, only to find the Governor was well aware of everything he did.]]
* GratuitousJapanese, subverted: All conversations Fandorin and Masa have in Japanese are perfectly correct and appropriate. The author being a professional Japanese interpreter and a japanophile helps.
* GreatDetective: At one point, Fandorin is pitted against Literature/SherlockHolmes himself... [[spoiler:and both lose to Literature/ArseneLupin, although not without humiliating him]].
* TheGunslinger: Erast Fandorin, also Washington Reed. Fandorin is "GunFu" type, Reed is "QuickDraw" type.
* HeroOfAnotherStory: ''She Lover of Death'' and ''He Lover of Death'' are two completely separate mysteries being investigated by Fandorin at the same time.
* HeterosexualLifePartners: Fandorin and Masa.
* HistoricalDomainCharacter: ''The Death of Achilles'', ''The Coronation''
* HistoricalInJoke: Many, many of them.
* HeroicBSOD: [[spoiler: What happens to Fandorin at the end of the first novel.]]
* HeroicFireRescue: By Fandorin, as recounted by Angelina in ''The Decorator''. ''Before the End of the World'' also features one.
* {{Homage}}: To many, many real-life and fictional Victorian-age characters and settings. There is a "Fandorin and Sherlock Holmes versus Arsene Lupin" short story, a "Fandorin versus Jack the Ripper" novel, a "Fandorin comes to the Old West" novella...
** Pozharsky's full name (Gleb Georgievich Pozharsky) is notable similar to [[TheMeetingPlaceCannotBeChanged Zheglov's]] full name (Gleb Georgievich Zheglov).
* HonorBeforeReason: George Devyatkin in ''All the World's a Stage''. [[spoiler: Subverted: Devyatkin is a villain and uses HonorBeforeReason to screw up Fandorin's plans without being suspected.]]
* HowWeGotHere:
** ''The Coronation'' opens with a climactic shootout between Fandorin and Dr. Lind.
** To some extent, also the second part of ''Death of Achilles'' that explains the events leading the eponymous death that set the whole first part in motion.
* IfICantHaveYou: When the passengers in ''Murder on the Leviathan'' start fighting over the Indian shawl McGuffin ([[spoiler:which is actually a map showing the location of a treasure valuable enough to double the size of the Royal Navy, pay for a French revanche against Germany, or wipe out Russia's foreign debts]]) it's heavily implied that Fandorin deliberately let it blow out of the window to be lost at sea.
** A straighter example can be found in the latest book, ''All the World's a Stage'', where [[spoiler:the villain realizes that he cannot win the love and respect of the woman he is obsessed with and decides to kill her and everyone else in her actor troupe in a suicide bombing]].
* ImpaledWithExtremePrejudice: [[spoiler:Brilling]] in ''The Winter Queen''.
* ImperialJapan
* IngestingKnowledge: Samsonite is a chemical invented by Samson Fandorin, an ancestor of Erast Fandorin, in "Quest". Drinking it reforms connections in the brain in such a way that the user acquires new information - for example, "hears" a message from Fandorin. It can also contain general knowledge (in the novel, Russian language and culture).
* InWhichATropeIsDescribed: Chapter titles for the first half of ''The Diamond Chariot''.
** ''The Winter Queen''.
* ItWillNeverCatchOn: In the second (1878) part of ''The Diamond Chariot'', Fandorin regards the notion that Japan could transform itself into a great power in thirty years as "simply laughable".
* IWasJustPassingThrough
* IOweYouMyLife: Gintaro Aono in ''Murder on the Leviathan'', much to Fandorin's amusement. Later, and more permanently, Masa.
* ItWorksBetterWithBullets: In the first novel, Count Zurov tricks Fandorin into committing a suicide of honor. However, it turns out to be a SecretTestOfCharacter (whether Fandorin would really go as far as shooting himself), since Zurov's butler removes all bullets from the revolver while everybody's looking the other way.
* JackTheRipper: "The Decorator" from ''Special Assignments''
* {{Jerkass}}: Colonel Lukan in ''The Turkish Gambit''
* KarmicDeath: [[spoiler: Pozharsky]] in ''The State Counsellor''
* LargeHam:
** Ippolit Zurov, Prince Pozharsky.
** TurnedUpToEleven by Nikita Mikhalkov who plays the latter in the movie adaptation.
* LaResistance: The "Combat Group" and other revolutionaries from ''The State Counsellor''. Notably, the [[TheRevolutionWillNotBeVilified revolution is portrayed in slightly gray shades]] here.
* LifeWillKillYou: In the first Erast Fandorin novel, Count Zurov tells the protagonist about a friend he had once, an army officer who participated in the most brutal fights but died in the peacetime of an accidental alcohol poisoning.
* LockedIntoStrangeness: Fandorin's temples go completely gray by the end of the first novel and remain so until the end of his life. It's worth noting that he was only 22 then.
* LoveMakesYouDumb: happens to Fandorin in ''All the World's a Stage''
** LoveMakesYouEvil: happens to the villain in the same novel.
* MacGuffin: [[spoiler: the Indian shawl]] in ''Murder on the Leviathan''.
* MadScientist: Doctor Blank in ''The Winter Queen''.
* MadeOfIron: Mr. Green.
* MamaBear: Saadat Validbekova in ''The Black City''. Gets a CrowningMomentOfAwesome beating the hell out of the man who kidnapped her son.
* TheManBehindTheMan: [[spoiler: Marie Sanfon behind Lieutenant Renier]] in ''Murder on the Leviathan''.
* ManipulativeBastard:
** [[spoiler: Prince Pozharsky]] in ''The State Counsellor''
** Achimas Welde in his Belgian flashback.
* MarketBasedTitle: ''Leviafan'' was initially directly translated as ''Leviathan'', but for the paperback was changed to ''Murder on the Leviathan'' in a possible case of ViewersAreMorons.
** There were already several books titled ''Leviathan'' on the English market, so this was likely done to avoid confusion that could hamper sales.
** 'Azazel' is another example - partially to avoid religious tensions on US market.
* MasterOfDisguise: Fandorin, also Momos in ''The Jack of Spades'', Achimas Welde in ''Death of the Achilles''.
* MeaningfulName: Subverted with Mr Green of ''The State Counsellor''; he's a synaesthesiac, so you might think he's called after the colour he perceives himself to be - but in fact he sees himself as grey, and his ''NomDeGuerre'' is just a contraction of his real surname Grinberg, as well as after [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ignacy_Hryniewiecki Ignacy Hryniewiecki]], the assassin of Tsar Alexander II, [[BilingualBonus whose surname is written "Grinevitski" in Russian]].
** The author's pseudonym, "Akunin", is spelled in Japanese as '悪人', which means 'an evil man' or 'villain'. Make of this what you will.
*** Explained in an AuthorFilibuster by the antagonist in ''The Diamond Chariot'', which [[CardCarryingVillain openly admits to being evil]] and is inclined to [[DiscussedTrope elaborate why]]. According to said villain, a true "Akunin" is the embodiment the kind of evil that [[WorthyOpponent commands respect]] due to being [[NobleDemon honorable,]] [[MagnificentBastard ingenious]] [[EvenEvilHasStandards and, above all, never petty.]]
* MilkmanConspiracy: The sinister [[WhatDoYouMeanItsNotSymbolic Azazel]] conspiracy in ''The Winter Queen'' turns out be [[spoiler:perpetrated by an international charity network for gifted children and the mastermind behind it is the sweet old Lady Astair]].
* MoodWhiplash: ''The Jack of Spades'', the first novella of ''Special Assignments'', is a lighthearted comic mystery about a pair of con men/thieves. ''The Decorator'', the second novella, is about a vicious SerialKiller.
* MotherRussiaMakesYouStrong: Fandorin runs into this stereotype every now and then; he is a walking subversion, though. Then there is Ippolit Zurov (who ''could'' be intelligent and gallant, but often ''isn't'').
* MotiveRant
* MrFanservice: D'Hevrais in ''The Turkish Gambit''
* MyCountryRightOrWrong: Fandorin himself has this to some extent, as do some other characters otherwise critical of the Tsar's government and policies. On the other hand, averted with [[spoiler:Anwar Effendi, the Ottoman super-spy, who is perfectly willing to sacrifice his own country for sake of stopping autocratic Russia and winning time for the liberal powers of the West]].
* NamesToRunAwayFromReallyFast: mostly averted, except with a huge scary thug called John '''Morbid'''.
** {{Invoked| Trope}} in ''All the World's a Stage'' - theatrical actor who plays the villains uses the stage name '''Mephistov'''.
* {{Ninja}}: Fandorin and [[spoiler:the Tamba Clan in ''Diamond Chariot'', including his own son]].
* NoPartyLikeADonnerParty: this is the backstory of [[spoiler:Caliban]].
* NobleBigotWithABadge: Gustave Gauche, [[spoiler: though the 'noble' part failed to stand up to the test in the end]].
* NotSoDifferent: Fandorin and Anwar Effendi.
* ObfuscatingStupidity: [[spoiler:"Renata Kleber"]] in ''Murder on the Leviathan''.
* OfCorsetsSexy: The young, naive Fandorin of the first book buys a male corset after hearing its snake-oil claims of improving health... which technically turns out to be true, as it later saves his life by deflecting a knife.
** In a CrowningMomentOfFunny, Ivan Brilling then decides that the entire Russian police force should be issued them...
* OfficerAndAGentleman: Several in ''The Turkish Gambit'', but especially Sobolev.
* OldMaster:
** Momochi Tamba, the head ninja in ''The Diamond Chariot''.
** Fandorin himself becomes one by the time of ''The Black City'', where he pretty much wastes everyone (who doesn't get a drop on him from behind ''and'' tie him up head to toe) with his bare hands at the age of 59.
* OrthodoxChristianity: Less relevant than in Akunin's other series starring Sister Pelagia, but plays an important role in the setting and occasionally the plot.
* OutlawCouple: Momos and Mimi in ''The Jack of Spades''.
* OutWithABang: {{Invoked| Trope}} and {{Exploited| Trope}} in ''The Death of Achilles'' [[spoiler:with Achimas' intricate murder of General Sobolev]].
* PaintingTheMedium: Newspaper articles are shown as two columns of text. Gintaro Aono's segments in ''Leviathan'' are printed sideways, suggesting the way in which Japanese is written and/or Aono's FishOutOfWater alien worldview among the Europeans.
* PocketProtector: In ''The Winter Queen'', Erast's life is saved when an attacker's knife is turned away by his corset.
* PlayingCardMotifs:
** Early in ''The Jack of Spades'', the eponymous conman goes into a prolonged InternalMonologue about the symbolism of the nickname he picked for himself.
** In ''He Lover of Death'', all Khitrovka gangs seem to be structured like card decks: the gang leader is referred as King, his girlfriend is the Queen and his right-hand man is the Jack, while the regular gang members are spread out between ten and six (from most important to most expendable, respectively). The Ace is a King whose gang dominates the entirety of Moscow underworld.
* PoliticallyIncorrectVillain: Izhitzov in ''The Decorator''. Suverted when the book makes clear that his opinions are shared by the society around him and because he stops antagonizing Fandorin shortly after making those opinions clear [[spoiler: when he becomes an AssholeVictim]].
* ThePowerOfLove: Very cynically exploited by [[spoiler:Dr. Lind, whose multi-national gang consists exclusively of men who are madly in love with ''her'']].
* ProfessionalKiller: Achimas Welde in ''The Death of Achilles''.
* PublicDomainCharacter: Erast runs into Literature/SherlockHolmes and Literature/ArseneLupin during the course of his adventures.
** And ''Comedy/Tragedy'' reveals that [[{{Hamlet}} Horatio]] was a Von Dorn [[spoiler: who orchestrated most of the events of the play behind the scenes]]
* {{Reconstruction}}: Of Russian detective fiction.
* RussianRoulette: Fandorin always wins this one. Notably the first book claims that it's actually ''American'' Roulette, and only became renamed thanks to the events therein...
* SamusIsAGirl: ''The Coronation''
* ScrewThisImOuttaHere: Washington Reed at the end of ''Dream Valley''.
* SerialKiller: ''The Decorator''.
* ShoutOut: At least several phrases and mannerisms used by Achimas Welde in ''Death of Achilles'' are taken almost verbatim from FrederickForsyth's ''Literature/TheDayOfTheJackal''.
* SpeechImpediment: Fandorin started stuttering after the first book; the stutter [[LetsGetDangerous disappeared in the more critical moments]], unnerving his conversants.
* SpyDrama: ''The Turkish Gambit'', ''The Diamond Chariot''.
* SpyFiction: When this trope applies (see above, plus ''Death of Achilles'') it is pure Martini, or rather Champagne. Pretty dry though.
* StartsWithASuicide: ''The Winter Queen''
* StarCrossedLovers: [[AntiVillain Anti Villains]] Mr. Green and Needle in ''The State Counsellor''
* TheStoic: Several villains fall into this area, notably Achimas Welde from ''The Death of Achilles'' and Mr. Green from ''The State Counsellor''. Fandorin himself is one compared to other characters, but tends to break from EmotionsVsStoicism much more easily than the villains.
* StrangersOnATrainPlotMurder: "One Tenth Percent" from ''Jade Rosary Beads''
* StreetUrchin: Senka Skorik in ''He Lover of Death''
* StrictlyFormula, InUniverse: In ''All the World's a Stage'', Director Stern admits that writing plays based on the same ten archetypes is the key to his success. He even has a permanent cast, each of whom exactly matches one of said archetypes (including himself).
* StressVomit: Subverted in ''The Turkish Gambit'', when Varya throws up after spending days bandaging the wounded and, to top it off, learning that her fiance attempted suicide. She thinks that it's just stress but it turns out that she contracted typhoid fever, putting her out of commission for weeks.
* StutteringIntoEloquence: Erast. His stutter, although noticeable is very slight and never prevents him to speak precisely and eloquently. Also subverted, as lack of stutter usually signifies that Erast is close to solving a mystery.
* StylisticSuck: Caliban's poem about meat-seeking dead sailors in ''She-Lover of Death'', while quite creepy, is very much this.
* SuddenSequelDeathSyndrome: Many times: [[spoiler: Zurov in ''Turkish Gambit'', Grushin and Sobolev in ''The Death of Achilles'', Tulipov in ''The Decorator''...]] Boris Akunin loves this trope.
* TheSummation: But of course. Also, subverted in ''Murder on the Leviathan'' when [[InspectorJavert Gustave Gauche]] gave just such a summation when he thought he solved the case (with 1/3rd of the book still to go)... [[CrowningMomentOfAwesome only to be completely and thoroughly overturned by Erast Fandorin]].
* SwitchingPOV: ''Murder on the Leviathan'' cycles through several different POV characters.
** ''The Death of Achilles'' is divided into two parts. The first part is Fandorin's investigation (using Fandorin as the POV character, for the first time since ''The Winter Queen''). The second part is from Achimas's (the villain's) POV, in which we learn his life story and then [[PerspectiveFlip go through the events of the first part from his POV]]. Then there's a climactic chapter that switches back and forth between Fandorin and Achimas's POV as they have their confrontation.
** In the first (1905) part of ''The Diamond Chariot'' the POV switches back and forth between Fandorin and the Japanese spy he's chasing. Also happens in the second (1878) part, see ADeathInTheLimelight above.
* SympathyForTheDevil: Fandorin towards Momos in ''The Jack of Spades''
* TakingYouWithMe: Averted at the eleventh hour in ''The Winter Queen''. [[spoiler:Lady Astair means to do this at first, but then takes pity on Fandorin and lets him go in the end.]]
** Played straight in ''The State Counsellor''. [[spoiler: Needle blowing herself (and mortally wounded Green) up, taking ManipulativeBastard Prince Pozharsky with them.]]
* TearOffYourFace: ''The Diamond Chariot'', twice.
* TechnicalPacifist: Washington Reed
* TenLittleMurderVictims: a variation: the French detective in ''Murder on the Leviathan'' was sure that the murderer he was chasing after was somewhere on the large ship, and made sure to have his primary suspects assigned to the same salon to keep an eye on them. Then played straight when ''one of those suspects'' was killed too.
* TheyLookJustLikeEveryoneElse: The Decorator.
** Momos, when not in disguise, looks very plain and unremarkable.
* TheyWereHoldingYouBack: The Decorator.
* ThinkingTic: From ''Special Assignments'' onwards, Fandorin acquires a habit of grabbing his jade rosary beads and telling them in silence while contemplating.
* TogetherInDeath: [[spoiler: Mr. Green and Needle]] in ''The State Counsellor''
* TranslationTrainwreck: The titles of the eight and ninth novels were rendered less than elegantly in English. In the original Russian they translate to ''Mistress of Death'' and ''Lover of Death''. Instead they were published, oddly, as ''She Lover of Death'' and ''He Lover of Death''.
* TreacherousAdvisor: [[spoiler: Brilling]] in the first novel; Fandorin still ended up borrowing from his deductive method and manner of speech, though.
* TsaristRussia
* TurksWithTroops: ''The Turkish Gambit''
* TykeBomb: In the first book, [[spoiler: the orphanages network]] is making them in numbers. Notable exemplars are Anvar Effendi and [[spoiler: Brilling]].
* UndesirablePrize: Fandorin won a huge ugly wooden clock that won't fit into his room in a lottery, much to his own horror. [[spoiler: [[ChekhovsGun It saved his life.]]]]
* UnreliableNarrator: several in ''Murder on the Leviathan'' (not quite narrators in 3 out 5 cases, but the perspective shifts to them and the unreliability is there), but especially [[ThroughTheEyesOfMadness Lord Milford-Stokes]].
* ViewersAreMorons: The most likely explanation for the retitling of the first and third novels (in Russian, respectively, ''Azazel'' and ''Leviathan'' to ''The Winter Queen'' and ''Murder on the Leviathan''.)
* VomitingCop: Fandorin himself, on his first crime scene and also in the opening scene of ''The Decorator''.
* TheWatson: Anisiy Tulipov
* WellIntentionedExtremist: The BigBad of the first novel, [[spoiler:Lady Astair]] definitely qualifies for this trope. As does [[spoiler:Anwar Effendi]] from the second novel, what with being the former's pupil. The revolutionary Mr. Green may also qualify. Also Commisar Khurtinsky, orchestrator of the [[spoiler:Sobolev's]] assassination. [[GreyAndGreyMorality To make matters more complicated]], also [[spoiler:Sobolev]] himself.
* WholeEpisodeFlashback: Used in Part II of ''The Death of Achilles'', in which the life history and criminal career of the antagonist is recounted. This may be a nod to Literature/SherlockHolmes novels, which often used this trope.
* {{Yakuza}}: ''The Diamond Chariot''. Masa is a former criminal, whose life and honor Fandorin accidentally saved.
* YouGotMurder: The ending of the first novel.