The strength, the backbone, of A Vengeful Longing
lies in the character of investigating magistrate Porfiry Petrovich. Snatched
from the pages of Dostoevsky's novel Crime and Punishment, where he is
pencil-sketched as the nemesis of murderer Rodion Romanovitch Raskolnikov,
Petrovich comes brilliantly alive in Morris's hands. Admittedly Dostoevsky did
hint at Petrovich's Zen-like qualities while he patiently waited for Raskolnikov
to catch up and catch on to the fact that the magistrate had known of his guilt
almost from the beginning.
But Morris shows us that Petrovich is not just a smart man, he is a wise and serene man who enjoys the game and who knows how to make his adversaries turn their own weaknesses against themselves. This is never-so-evident as when he is trying to rid his office of the pesky flies that are a by-product of the fetid canal that runs ...
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