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Erast Fandorin 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 UsefulNotes/{{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 Fandorin #10, ''The Diamond Chariot''.[[note]]After a six-year gap a translation for Fandorin #12, ''All The World's a Stage'' has been announced for the fall of 2017; ''Jade Rosary Beads'' is apparently getting skipped[[/note]] Akunin has also written several novels set in the present day and starring Fandorin's grandson Nicholas Fandorin.

Live-action adaptations of Fandorin novels include a Russian TV adaptation of ''The Winter Queen'' and Russian film adaptations of ''Film/TheTurkishGambit'' and ''The State Counsellor''. No English-language live-action Fandorin adaptation has ever been made; an English adaptation of ''The Winter Queen'' languished in DevelopmentHell for many years.

A full list of published novels can be found on the [[Recap/ErastFandorin Recap page]].

See also ''Literature/SisterPelagia'', for the other detective series by Boris Akunin known to the English reader.

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!!Fandorin novels with their own work pages:

* ''Literature/TheWinterQueen''
* ''Literature/TheTurkishGambit''
* ''Literature/MurderOnTheLeviathan''
* ''Literature/TheDeathOfAchilles''
* ''Literature/SpecialAssignments''
* ''Literature/TheStateCounsellor''
* ''Literature/TheCoronation''
* ''Literature/SheLoverOfDeath''
* ''Literature/HeLoverOfDeath''
* ''Literature/TheDiamondChariot''

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!!Tropes found in other books and general Fandorin tropes:

* 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 where the FN firearms factory is located. From the second part of ''The Diamond Chariot'' onwards, Fandorin uses a Browning semiautomatic. On the other hand, the description of Herstal-Agent, especially safety located where the hammer would normally be on a revolver, is a rare feature in revolvers in general, and is a very distinctive feature of Webley "WP" Pocket Hammerless revolver, which dates to roughly the same time period. In a possible subtle reference to that, Fandorin is using a Webley semi-auto pistol in ''The Black City''.
* 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. Then after ''The Black City'' takes Fandorin to 1914, the three novellas of ''Planet Water'' fill in some more of his adventures 1902-1912.
* AnachronismStew:
** Akunin does this on occasion deliberately, for humorous effect. ''The Winter Queen'' has a character 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.
* 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 every other benevolent {{Mentor|s}} archetype.
* BattleButler: Masa fits this trope to the T.
* 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]].
* 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). Another possible explanation is that whenplaying 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, as Zurov's servant removed the bullets without anyone noticing). One particularly notable occurrences of his luck is when he uses it to check a suspicious lottery: he doesn't win and deduces that the lottery must be rigged. [[spoiler:He's right.]]
* CallBack: Many, throughout the series, to earlier novels. One example: ''The Diamond Chariot'' has a character randomly quote a newspaper, which states that Commodore Endlung and State Counsellor Zuikin are among the dead at Tsushima. Endlung and Zuikin were characters from ''The Coronation'', with Zuikin the Romanov butler being the narrator of that novel. In ''The Coronation'' Endlung recommends that Zuikin leave Romanov service and join the navy.
* 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..."
* CentralTheme: A series of detective novels set in Russia from 1876 to 1914. The Central Theme, of course, is the decline and fall of UsefulNotes/TsaristRussia. This is underlined right off the bat in ''The Winter Queen'', when Lady Astair talks about the violent and destructive ways that change might manifest if it isn't managed. In ''The Turkish Gambit'', the BigBad says that Russia is dangerous and primitive and will do great damage to the world if it isn't contained. Sobolev's mistress in ''The Death of Achilles'' says that what Russia needs isn't the Dardanelles, it's enlightenment and a constitution; meanwhle Sobolev and his faction represent the pan-Slav militarism that eventually leads Russia to disaster in UsefulNotes/WorldWarI. ''The State Counsellor'' has a friend of Fandorin musing about how the government should stand up for the workers, and guarantee them basic rights like an eight-hour day and decent living conditions, and how if the government fails, the workers will go over to the revolutionaries. ''The Coronation'' portrays a decayed, decadent Romanov family headed by a weak and spineless monarch, Nicholas II. ''The Diamond Chariot'' finds Russia embroiled in a pointless war with Japan, which Russia is losing; the book opens with the word of a disastrous naval defeat at Tsushima. A worried Fandorin muses that "Russia was seriously ill, running a high fever," while "[[UsefulNotes/RedOctober a deadly tumor was burgeoning]]" inside.
* CoolCar: What counts for one back in the 19th century...
* CoolOldGuy: Prince Dolgurokoi. He gets a CrowningMomentOfAwesome in ''The State Counsellor'' 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).
* CulturedBadass: Fandorin
* CursedWithAwesome: Fandorin's luck at gambling.
* TheDandy: Fandorin is always very well turned out, dressing fashionably, with a neatly waxed mustache. The corset he's wearing in the first book saves his life.
* DashedPlotLine: The series as a whole, which follows Fandorin at the key points of his career and life.
* ADayInTheLimelight: "The Scarpea of the Baskakovs" (a short story from ''Jade Rosary Beads'') focuses on Anisiy Tulipov in the same manner as ''Literature/TheHoundOfTheBaskervilles'' focuses on Dr. Watson.
* 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.
* DisproportionateReward
* 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.
* 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.
* EvenTheGuysWantHim: Erast Fandorin. Point-of-view characters Tulipov and Ziukin comments how beautiful he is, and in ''The Coronation'' Fandorin quickly attracts attention of homosexual Mr. Carr.
* EurekaMoment
* {{Expy}}:
** [[SignificantAnagram Miss Palmer]] for Literature/MissMarple.
** Afanasi Ziukin (the point-of-view character in ''The Coronation'') for [[Literature/TheRemainsOfTheDay James Stevens]].
** Several expies of historical figures (Sobolev for Skobelev for example) may also count as {{Historical Domain Character}}s.
* FieryRedhead / [[spoiler:EvilRedhead]]: Ashlyn Calligan in "Dream Valley".
* TheFilmOfTheBook: ''The Winter Queen'', ''Film/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.
* 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?"]]
* 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 "Before the End of the World".
* FunetikAksent: German, folk Russian and Japanese.
* GermanRussians: Fandorin is from a Russified German family (originally "[[TheVonTropeFamily Von Dorn]]").
* GoodEyesEvilEyes: Achimas Welde has whitish, almost transparent eyes. (The TV adaptation gives him different colored eyes.)
* GoodShepherd: Father Valery in "A Lone Sail". Mother Superior Fevronia was one, too.
* 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.
* GratuitousNinja: Erast Petrovich Fandorin--19th century Russian white ninja.
* 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.
* HeterosexualLifePartners: Fandorin and Masa.
* HistoricalDomainCharacter: The books feature a lot of these, usually renaming them (e.g. General Skobelev becomes General Sobolev). The highest concentration of these is probably in ''The Death of Achilles'' and ''The Coronation''.
* HistoricalInJoke: Many, many of them.
* 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 [[Series/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.]]
* IfICantHaveYou:''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]].
* 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).
* InsufferableGenius: Pete Bull, Fandorin's brilliant mechanic and engineer in ''Planet Water''.
* InWhichATropeIsDescribed: If a chapter is from Fandorin's POV, it is probably titled this way.
* IWasJustPassingThrough
* IOweYouMyLife: Gintaro Aono in ''Murder on the Leviathan'', much to Fandorin's amusement. Later, and more permanently, Masa.
* JapaneseRanguage: Masa's inability to pronounce the letter L is a RunningGag throughout the series.
* LargeHam: Ippolit Zurov and Prince Pozharsky. Turned UpToEleven by Nikita Mikhalkov who plays the latter in the movie adaptation.
* LoveMakesYouDumb: happens to Fandorin in ''All the World's a Stage''
** LoveMakesYouEvil: happens to the villain in the same novel.
* MamaBear: Saadat Validbekova in ''The Black City''. Gets a SugarWiki/MomentOfAwesome beating the hell out of the man who kidnapped her son.
* MasterOfDisguise: Fandorin himself, but also Momos in ''The Jack of Spades'' and Achimas Welde in ''Death of the Achilles''.
* MeaningfulName: 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]].
* 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'').
* MyCountryRightOrWrong: Fandorin himself has this to some extent, as do some other characters otherwise critical of the Tsar's government and policies.
* NamesToRunAwayFromReallyFast: {{Invoked| Trope}} in ''All the World's a Stage'' - theatrical actor who plays the villains uses the stage name '''Mephistov'''.
* NonPOVProtagonist: Used for the bulk of the series. Through ten Fandorin novels translated into English, the only ones where he is the POV character are ''The Winter Queen'', ''The Death of Achilles'' (first half only), ''The State Counsellor'' (half the chapters) and ''The Diamond Chariot'' (second half only). In all the other books the story is told through the eyes of one or more supporting characters.
* 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.
* 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.
* PosthumousSibling: Fandorin has had two known sons: [[spoiler:"Captain Rybnikov", revealed to be Fandorin and Midori Tamba's son in ''Diamond Chariot'',]] committed suicide in 1905, while his first and only legitimate heir, Alexander Fandorin, was born in 1921, though neither he, nor Fandorin himself ever learned that even had an older brother.
* PrematurelyGreyHaired: Downplayed. Fandorin's temples go completely gray by the end of the first novel, when he was just 22, and remain so until the end of his life.
* PublicDomainCharacter:
** Erast runs into Literature/SherlockHolmes and Literature/ArseneLupin during the course of his adventures.
** And ''Comedy/Tragedy'' reveals that Theatre/{{H|amlet}}oratio was a Von Dorn [[spoiler: who orchestrated most of the events of the play behind the scenes]]
* PuttingOnMyThinkingCap: Starting with ''Special Assignments'' and continuing for the rest of the series, Fandorin has a habit of pulling his jade rosary beads out of his pocket and clicking through them when he's trying to work something out in his head.
* {{Reconstruction}}: Of Russian detective fiction.
* ScrewThisImOuttaHere: Washington Reed at the end of ''Dream Valley''.
* SpeechImpediment: Fandorin started stuttering after the first book; the stutter [[LetsGetDangerous disappeared in the more critical moments]], unnerving his conversants.
* SpyFiction: When this trope applies (see above, plus ''Death of Achilles'') it is pure Martini, or rather Champagne. Pretty dry though.
* 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''
* 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).
* 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. It can also mean that he's really, ''[[TranquilFury really angry]]''.
* 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)... [[SugarWiki/MomentOfAwesome only to be completely and thoroughly overturned by Erast Fandorin]].
* TechnicalPacifist: Washington Reed.
* ThievesCant: Fenya crops up every now and again; not surprising, given the series' subject matter. ''The Death of Achilles'' features Xavery Grushin, an undercover police investigator, gaining the trust of a Moscow gang by speaking fluent Fenya.
* ThinkingTic: From ''Special Assignments'' onwards, Fandorin acquires a habit of grabbing his jade rosary beads and telling them in silence while contemplating.
* 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''.
* VillainousLegacy: The legacy of TheConspiracy from the first novel and of its mastermind comes back to bite Fandorin at least twice later on in his career: the BigBad of the second novel turns out to be a student of said mastermind, and the assassin in the fourth novel is the same guy that tried killing Fandorin twice in the first book... and he's still willing to fulfill that contract.
* VomitingCop: Fandorin himself, on his first crime scene and also in the opening scene of ''The Decorator''.
* WellIntentionedExtremist: Boris Akunin loves this trope.
** As does [[spoiler:Anwar Effendi]] from the second novel, what with being Lady Astair's pupil.
** The revolutionary Mr. Green may also qualify.
** Also Commisar Khurtinsky, orchestrator of the [[spoiler:Sobolev's]] assassination. [[GreyAndGrayMorality To make matters more complicated]], also [[spoiler:Sobolev]] himself.
** [[spoiler:Napoleon]] in ''Planet Water'' is one of these, too. He even mentions [[spoiler:Lady Astair]] and her organization and asks if Fandorin ever felt sorry for thwarting their plans.


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