Saturday, February 27, 2021

Katerina Goes to Studio City, by Thomas Perry

 "Katerina Goes to Studio City," by Thomas Perry, in The Strand Magazine, LXII, 2020

This story puts me in an awkward position.  I always publish my best-of-the-year list in my final SleuthSayers column of January, to give me a few extra weeks to catch those last stories.  But this issue of The Strand didn't arrive until late February.  I will have to go back and add this tale to my list.  Ah well.

Katerina is a teenager leading a miserable life in Moscow with no hint of a better future.  Then her best friend escapes to the United States and Katerina, a very resourceful girl, arranges to go as well.

Naive as she is, she does not realize why a Russian oligarch ("He's like a king,") would be willing to help a beautiful young girl come to California.  He sends a different man  to her apartment every night and Katerina develops a wide assortment of tricks and games to keep them out of her bed.

Does this begin to sound familiar?  Are you perhaps humming a few bars of Scheherazade?  

Before this very clever story ends Katerina will ring in a different and also very old tale.

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