100 books like Death of a Russian Priest

By Stuart M. Kaminsky,

Here are 100 books that Death of a Russian Priest fans have personally recommended if you like Death of a Russian Priest. Shepherd is a community of 9,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Death at La Fenice

Mark Frutkin Author Of The Artist and the Assassin

From my list on historical fiction and mysteries set in Italy.

Who am I?

I have always had a strong, long-lived interest in all things Italian (including Italian food and wine). I spent my third year of university at a campus in Rome and travelled all over Italy during my year there. I’ve been back to Italy as a tourist and researcher numerous times, as five of my ten award-winning novels are set there (in Venice, Rome, Cremona, etc.). I have many Italian friends and my most recent novel, The Artist and the Assassin, is being translated into Italian and will be published by Les Flaneurs Edizioni, an Italian publisher in Bari, Italy. 

Mark's book list on historical fiction and mysteries set in Italy

Mark Frutkin Why did Mark love this book?

I recommend this book because Donna Leon takes us inside the fascinating world of Venice. Her fictional detective, Guido Brunetti, is not only brilliant at solving crime (in her many Venetian novels) but has a delightful family (wife and two teenage children). La Fenice is the famous opera house of Venice, so we get to go backstage there as well as backstage in the city of Venice.

By Donna Leon,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked Death at La Fenice as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'A splendid series . . . with a backdrop of the city so vivid you can almost smell it.' The Sunday Telegraph

Winner of the Suntory Mystery Fiction Grand Prize

The twisted maze of Venice's canals has always been shrouded in mystery. Even the celebrated opera house, La Fenice, has seen its share of death ... but none so horrific and violent as that of world-famous conductor, Maestro Helmut Wellauer, who was poisoned during a performance of La Traviata. Even Commissario of Police, Guido Brunetti, used to the labyrinthine corruptions of the city, is shocked at the number of…

Book cover of The Blessing Way

Carl and Jane Bock Author Of Day of the Jaguar: An Arizona Borderlands Mystery

From my list on mysteries about the American Southwest.

Who are we?

Deserts are inherently mysterious places. This likely explains why so many good mystery novels have been set in them. We spent better than forty years doing field work in the American Southwest, and we have found mystery novels based in this region among the very best. All good mystery novels must have strong plots and memorable characters, but to us an equally important component is setting. Jane is a botanist with expertise in the use of plant evidence in solving murder cases. Carl is a vertebrate zoologist and conservation biologist. Upon retirement we began writing mysteries. Some are set in the desert grasslands of Arizona, and all are inspired by the southwestern authors we have selected as our favorites.     

Carl's book list on mysteries about the American Southwest

Carl and Jane Bock Why did Carl love this book?

When we first discovered Tony Hillerman’s books, we nearly lost a whole summer’s fieldwork because we couldn’t stop reading them. In our opinion, no fiction author has better captured both the haunting physical beauty and cultural traditions of the Navajo Nation. Lieutenant Joe Leaphorn of the tribal police is more pragmatic than his fellow officers Jim Chee and Bernadette Manuelito, who bring a more spiritual side to their work. The Blessing Way is the first of this long-running series, which is being carried on by Anne Hillerman. In this first book, the police find a corpse so far out in the desert and so wrapped in mystery as to shake even Leaphorn’s belief that everything has a rational explanation. Hillerman inspired us to try writing mystery novels of our own, although we don’t pretend to have achieved his level of mastery.  

By Tony Hillerman,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Blessing Way as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Don’t miss the TV series, Dark Winds, based on the Leaphorn, Chee, & Manuelito novels, now on AMC and AMC+!  

“Brilliant…as fascinating as it is original.”—St. Louis Post-Dispatch

From New York Times bestselling author Tony Hillerman, the first novel in his series featuring Lieutenant Joe Leaphorn & Officer Jim Chee who encounter a bizarre case that borders between the supernatural and murder

Homicide is always an abomination, but there is something exceptionally disturbing about the victim discovered in a high, lonely place—a corpse with a mouth full of sand—abandoned at a crime scene seemingly devoid of tracks or useful clues.…

Book cover of Strong Poison

Iona Whishaw Author Of Framed in Fire

From my list on soothingly gentleman-like inspectors.

Who am I?

I’m the writer of an award-winning, best-selling series called the Lane Winslow Mysteries. They take place in British Columbia right after the Second World War, and feature an intelligent, canny, beautiful, polyglot who has just retired from spying for the British—this character inspired by my own beautiful multilingual mother, who did intelligence work in the war. I love the mystery genre, and while no one loves a burned-out, borderline alcoholic inspector who's divorced and has children who won’t return his calls more than I, I've always really adored what I call the “gentleman inspectors.” Men who are happily married, or will be soon, smart, educated, ethical, emotionally complex people you’d like to meet one day. 

Iona's book list on soothingly gentleman-like inspectors

Iona Whishaw Why did Iona love this book?

This is not the first book in which Lord Peter appears, but it is the first of the books that include Harriet Vane, with whom he falls hopelessly in seemingly unrequited love when he saves her from the noose. Written in 1930, Lord Peter is an actual gentleman with all the deceptively shallow mannerisms and slang of a young Bertie Wooster about him, but he of course is covering up his blinding intelligence and his very vulnerable heart. Besides collecting rare books, playing faultless Bach on the piano ,and struggling with bouts of shell shock from the trenches in France, his great joy is solving murders. And he has beautiful manners. When asked why she had invented Lord Peter, Dorothy L. Sayers answered, “I wanted to create the perfect man.”

By Dorothy L. Sayers,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Strong Poison as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The sixth book in Dorothy L Sayers' classic Lord Peter Wimsey series, introduced by actor Edward Petherbridge - a must-read for fans of Agatha Christie's Poirot and Margery Allingham's Campion Mysteries.

'D. L. Sayers is one of the best detective story writers' Daily Telegraph

Can Lord Peter Wimsey prove that Harriet Vane is not guilty of murder - or find the real poisoner in time to save her from the gallows?

Impossible, it seems.

The Crown's case is watertight. The police are adamant that the right person is on trial. The judge's summing-up is also clear. Harriet Vane is guilty…

Book cover of Still Life

Nicole Dieker Author Of Ode to Murder

From my list on cozy mysteries for music and math nerds.

Who am I?

I’m the author of The Larkin Day Mysteries, a cozy-comedy-nerdy-mathy-theater-geeky mystery series set in Eastern Iowa. I’ve been a full-time freelance writer for over a decade, and you may have seen my work in Vox, Morning Brew, Dwell, Lifehacker, Popular Science, and/or The Billfold. I live in a small Midwestern town with the Great Love of My Life and we spend our time practicing the piano, playing chess, and cultivating our garden. I spent a few years working in both amateur and professional theater, including a semester teaching Shakespeare at the University of Hyderabad. By the time I was ready to become a full-time freelancer and part-time novelist, I had plenty of experiences to draw from.

Nicole's book list on cozy mysteries for music and math nerds

Nicole Dieker Why did Nicole love this book?

Imagine a tiny village in Quebec, hidden from both maps and memories, visible only to those who cannot fit in anywhere else.

Imagine the artists, poets, doctors, philosophers, musicians, artisans, and murderers who might gather there—and then imagine the man from Montréal who is tasked, again and again, with uncovering their crimes. Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, fallen from grace for reasons of his own, traveling one more time to a secret village of geniuses—or, perhaps, a village of secret geniuses.

Either way, he’ll have to outsmart at least one of them before they kill again.

By Louise Penny,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked Still Life as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In Still Life, bestselling author Louise Penny introduces Monsieur L'Inspecteur Armand Gamache of the Surete du Quebec, a modern Poirot who anchors this beloved traditional mystery series.

Winner of the New Blood Dagger, Arthur Ellis, Barry, Anthony, and Dilys awards.

Chief Inspector Armand Gamache of the Surêté du Québec and his team of investigators are called in to the scene of a suspicious death in a rural village south of Montreal. Jane Neal, a local fixture in the tiny hamlet of Three Pines, just north of the U.S. border, has been found dead in the woods. The locals are certain…

Book cover of Moscow, 1937

Steven G. Marks Author Of How Russia Shaped the Modern World: From Art to Anti-Semitism, Ballet to Bolshevism

From my list on modern Russian history.

Who am I?

Steven G. Marks is a historian who has written extensively on Russian economic and cultural history, the global impact of Russian ideas, and the history of capitalism. He received his PhD from Harvard University and has spent more than 30 years teaching Russian and world history at Clemson University in South Carolina.

Steven's book list on modern Russian history

Steven G. Marks Why did Steven love this book?

Karl Schlögel’s masterpiece, Moscow,1937, is a gripping study of Moscow at the peak of the Stalinist Great Terror. With short chapters and a multitude of illustrations, the book leads the reader on a panoptic tour of every aspect of the city’s life in this year of mass arrests and waves of executions. Step by step, Schlögel builds a convincing case that as the Communist regime struggled to get a grip on the chaos unleashed by the regime’s own collectivization and industrialization drives, its reflexive response was to resort to political violence. The murderous frenzy that resulted changed the society beyond recognition.

By Karl Schlogel,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Moscow, 1937 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Moscow, 1937: the soviet metropolis at the zenith of Stalin s dictatorship. A society utterly wrecked by a hurricane of violence. In this compelling book, the renowned historian Karl Schlogel reconstructs with meticulous care the process through which, month by month, the terrorism of a state-of-emergency regime spiraled into the Great Terror during which 1 1/2 million human beings lost their lives within a single year. He revisits the sites of show trials and executions and, by also consulting numerous sources from the time, he provides a masterful panorama of these key events in Russian history. He shows how, in…

Book cover of Moscow - 2042

David Satter Author Of Never Speak to Strangers and Other Writing from Russia and the Soviet Union

From my list on understanding the Soviet Union and Post-Soviet Russia.

Who am I?

David Satter is a leading commentator on Russia and the former Soviet Union. He is the author of five books on Russia and the creator of a documentary film on the fall of the Soviet Union. He has been affiliated with the Hudson Institute and the John Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies. He is presently a member of the academic advisory board of the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation.

David's book list on understanding the Soviet Union and Post-Soviet Russia

David Satter Why did David love this book?

Vladimir Voinovich was probably the greatest Russian satirical writer since Gogol. After the fall of the U.S.S.R., he was asked if it was still possible to write satire in Russia. He insisted that it was. “The Soviet Union was a giant mental hospital but it was organized,” he explained. “Now, the inmates have been told that they can do whatever they want. So Russia is funnier than ever.”

In this novel, published in 1986, Voinovich demonstrated his stunning ability to divine the future. He described a new Russian regime dominated by state security and based not on Marxism-Leninism but on the teachings of the Orthodox Church. Like Russia today, the regime of his novel tells its citizens that they are surrounded by “three rings of hostility.” The first is the former Soviet republics; the second, the former Soviet satellites, the third, the West – the former “capitalist enemy.” This makes…

By Vladimir Voinovich,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Moscow - 2042 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In this satire that pokes fun at the future of communism, socialist life, and the Kremlin, an exiled Soviet writer enters a time warp and lands in Moscow in the year 2042.

Book cover of The Billion Dollar Spy: A True Story of Cold War Espionage and Betrayal

Steve Vogel Author Of Betrayal in Berlin: The True Story of the Cold War's Most Audacious Espionage Operation

From my list on accurate non-fiction about Cold War espionage.

Who am I?

I am an author and veteran journalist who reported for The Washington Post for more than two decades, and I write frequently about military history and intelligence. My father worked for the CIA, and I was born in Berlin when he was stationed there as a case officer. Later I was based in Germany as a foreign correspondent when the Berlin Wall came down. So it’s not too surprising that I am interested in Cold War espionage and history. As a reporter, author, and reader, I’ve always been attracted to stories off the beaten track, the ones that most people know little or nothing about. 

Steve's book list on accurate non-fiction about Cold War espionage

Steve Vogel Why did Steve love this book?

Hoffman tells the previously little-known story of Soviet military engineer Adolf Tolkachev, whose disgust with the communist regime inspired him to turn over enormously valuable secrets to the CIA station in Moscow beginning in the late 1970s. Hoffman’s careful reporting allows him to describe in meticulous and fascinating detail the remarkable techniques and great risks involved in running an agent in Moscow late in the Cold War.

By David E. Hoffman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Billion Dollar Spy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?


'An astonishingly detailed picture of espionage in the 1980s, written with pacey journalistic verve and an eerily contemporary feel.' Ben Macintyre, The Times

'A gripping story of courage, professionalism, and betrayal in the secret world.' Rodric Braithwaite, British Ambassador in Moscow, 1988-1992

'One of the best spy stories to come out of the Cold War and all the more riveting for being true.' Washington Post

January, 1977. While the chief of the CIA's Moscow station fills his gas tank, a stranger drops a note into the car.…

Book cover of Archangel: A Novel

Michael Khodarkovsky Author Of Russia's 20th Century: A Journey in 100 Histories

From my list on Russia and USSR in the 20th Century.

Who am I?

History has always been my passion. Since I was 16, I tried to understand the world around me and the forces that shaped it. I thought that history as a discipline provided the best answers. In the 1970s, because of the official anti-Semitism, it was impossible to get into the history department programs at the Soviet universities. Nonetheless, I resolved to study history after my emigration to the US in 1979 and joined a graduate program at the University of Chicago. For four decades I have been writing about Russian history, although I also read, teach, and write on global history.

Michael's book list on Russia and USSR in the 20th Century

Michael Khodarkovsky Why did Michael love this book?

A brilliant novel set in 1990s Russia. The plot involves Stalin and one of his deep secrets. The author seamlessly moves the story from the 1930s to 1990s and back. One rarely sees a historical novel so accurate in capturing the historical events and so utterly captivating. It is on par with some of the best thrillers.

By Robert Harris,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Archangel as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'With Archangel, Robert Harris confirms his position as Britain's pre-eminent literary thriller writer' The Times

'He has a talent for heart-poundingly tense story-telling, and an ability to conjure up atmospheres almost palpable with menace' Sunday Times
Deadly secrets lurk beneath the Russian ice.

Historian Fluke Kelso is in Moscow, attending a conference on recently unclassified Soviet papers, when an old veteran of the Soviet secret police visits his hotel room in the dead of night. He tells Kelso about a secret notebook belonging to Josef Stalin, stolen on the night of his death.

Though Kelso expects little, he…

Book cover of Russia at War, 1941-1945: A History

Francine Hirsch Author Of Soviet Judgment at Nuremberg: A New History of the International Military Tribunal After World War II

From my list on The experience of Soviet Soldiers in WW2.

Who am I?

Francine Hirsch is Vilas Distinguished Achievement Professor of History at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she teaches courses on Soviet History, Modern European History, and the History of Human Rights. She spent fifteen years researching and writing about the Soviet Union’s experience in World War II and the role that it played in the Nuremberg Trials. Her recently published Soviet Judgment at Nuremberg was awarded the 2021 Certificate of Merit for a Preeminent Contribution to Creative Scholarship from the American Society of International Law.

Francine's book list on The experience of Soviet Soldiers in WW2

Francine Hirsch Why did Francine love this book?

This vivid history of the Soviet Union at war by BBC journalist Alexander Werth is worth picking up for the Stalingrad chapters alone. In January 1943, Werth set out by train from Moscow to Stalingrad with a small group of correspondents. His conversations with Russian soldiers, officers, nurses, and railwaymen about the fighting, the Germans, and the Soviet defense of the city are woven into these chapters and make for extremely engaging reading.

By Alexander Werth,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Russia at War, 1941-1945 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In 1941, Russian-born British journalist Alexander Werth observed the unfolding of the Soviet-German conflict with his own eyes. What followed was the widely acclaimed book, Russia at War, first printed in 1964. At once a history of facts, a collection of interviews, and a document of the human condition, Russia at War is a stunning, modern classic that chronicles the savagery and struggles on Russian soil during the most incredible military conflict in modern history.

As a behind-the-scenes eyewitness to the pivotal, shattering events as they occurred, Werth chronicles with vivid detail the hardships of everyday citizens, massive military operations,…

Book cover of The Master and Margarita

Robert Wynne-Simmons Author Of Blood on Satan's Claw: or, The Devil's Skin

From my list on supernatural challenging the way we see the world.

Who am I?

I was born a polymath in Cheam, Surrey, England. Even as a child I had a passionate interest in music, architecture, film, poetry, drama, and storytelling. I lived very much in the world of my imagination and was able to apply it to a wide variety of projects. I have worked in Film, TV, Theatre, and have written scripts, plays, novels, songs, a musical, and an opera, all different in feeling. I have therefore had a special interest in innovative artistic work, and story-telling which pushes the boundaries of the imagination.

Robert's book list on supernatural challenging the way we see the world

Robert Wynne-Simmons Why did Robert love this book?

People who read The Master and Margarita will tell you that it is one of the greatest books they have ever read, but few can tell you why. It defies description.  It is truly unique. 

It opens on a blistering hot day in Moscow, a paradox in itself. The devil, seemingly out of Goethe’s Faust, is on a visit to the town. He and his strange entourage would be laughable, if they were not so lethal. Only the madness of Stalin’s paranoid Communism could have created such a story.

Bulgakov has an uncanny way of investing even the most unlikely scenes with intense realism. You never doubt him.  At times hilarious, at times terrifying, the book shows us what a fragile hold we have on reality.

By Mikhail Bulgakov, Richard Pevear (translator), Larissa Volokhonsky (translator)

Why should I read it?

14 authors picked The Master and Margarita as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Bulgakov is one of the greatest Russian writers, perhaps the greatest' Independent

Written in secret during the darkest days of Stalin's reign, The Master and Margarita became an overnight literary phenomenon when it was finally published it, signalling artistic freedom for Russians everywhere. Bulgakov's carnivalesque satire of Soviet life describes how the Devil, trailing fire and chaos in his wake, weaves himself out of the shadows and into Moscow one Spring afternoon. Brimming with magic and incident, it is full of imaginary, historical, terrifying and wonderful characters, from witches, poets and Biblical tyrants to the beautiful, courageous Margarita, who will…

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Interested in the Soviet Union, Moscow, and Philadelphia?

9,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about the Soviet Union, Moscow, and Philadelphia.

The Soviet Union Explore 313 books about the Soviet Union
Moscow Explore 51 books about Moscow
Philadelphia Explore 77 books about Philadelphia