The Case of the General's Thumb, Paperback
4 out of 5 (3 ratings)


When the corpse of a distinguished general and presidential adviser is found, attached to an advertising balloon, lieutenant Viktor Slutsky is sent in to investigate.

Meanwhile, KGB officer Nik Tsensky arrives in Kiev for a secret mission.

A larger-than-life hitman, bombs under furniture, a hearse, a deaf-and-dumb blonde, a tortoise and a parrot all play a part as Kurkov evokes a world of secret militia not seen before in Western fiction.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Publishing
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Thriller / suspense
  • ISBN: 9780099455257



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Showing 1 - 3 of 3 reviews.

Review by

From the same Ukrainian writer who brought you Death And The Penguin and A Matter Of Death And Life, both of which I liked a lot. This one is more of a spy novel with the prize being KGB gold, but it comes with the usual concise prose, quirky characters and Ukrainian politics Kurkov puts in his other novels. That said, this one’s not quite as good as the other two, but still pretty enjoyable.

Review by

Along with contempraries like Viktor Pelevin, Kurkov has dragged Eastern European fiction into the 21st century. Beautifully written and translated, The Case of the General's Thumb represents a departure from the "penguin" series, but in common with them, sees the main character unintentionally embroiled in the workings of the KGB/FSB, Russian Mafia and general criminal underworld of Ukraine and Russia.More an exploration of how the absurdity of post-communist Ukraine has come to resemble the absurdism of Gogol and his contemporaries than a spy novel, it remains accessible and extremely enjoyable. If you liked Death and the Penguin, make this your next stop.

Review by

It is just another Andrey Kurkov – wild, fast, mad, thrilling. It is a spy novel that takes us racing through Russia and other European countries, it is two stories that are told side by side and slowly getting closer until they merge. The characters are wonderfully quirky, it is absurd and funny and if you like Kurkov as I do it does not disappoint.