City of Ghosts by Ben Creed—a pseudonym for writing duo Chris Rickaby and Barney Thompson—is set in Leningrad in 1951, and combines a classic detective setup with an exploration of how the Soviet Union at that time operated. There are lots of throwbacks to the Siege of Leningrad during World War II. There’s also a strong musical theme, with part of the action stemming from events at the city’s Conservatory, where the chief protagonist studied before he lost his fingers. If you enjoy the historical aspects of this book, you might also like Symphony for the City of the Dead: Dmitri Shostakovich and the Siege of Leningrad, a book aimed at young adults that brings that period alive from a nonfiction perspective.
Best Mystery Books of 2021