An atmospheric mystery set in St Petersburg in the winter of 1867 sees detective Porfiry Petrovich taking his first murder case since Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment. When two frozen bodies are found in a park, he begins to suspect that the truth may be more complex than others wish him to believe, as his investigations lead him to a shocking discovery which reveals the city's darkest secrets. A Gentle Axe is utterly absorbing and tense from its dramatic opening through to its shocking climax.
R.N. Morris was born in Manchester, England, in 1960 and now lives in North London with his wife and two children. He sold his first short story to a teenage girls' magazine while still a student at Cambridge University, where he read classics. Making his living as a freelance copywriter, he has continued to write, and occasionally publish, fiction, including Taking Comfort (2006) written as Roger Morris.
One of his stories, "The Devil's Drum," was turned into a one-act opera, which was performed at the Purcell Room in London's South Bank. Another, "Revenants," was published as a comic book. A Vengeful Longing is the follow-up to his first novel written as R.N. Morris, the historical crime novel A Gentle Axe. A Razor Wrapped in Silk, the third in the series featuring Porfiry Petrovich from Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment, was published in April 2010.
A Vengeful Longing was short-listed for the 2008 CWA Duncan Lawrie Dagger for best crime novel, runner-up in New York Magazine's Culture Awards for 2008 in the best thriller category, and Highly Commended for the CWA Ellis Peters Historical Crime Novel Award 2008. It was also picked out by Crime Squad as one of the top ten crime books of 2008.
He has recently collaborated with the composer Ed Hughes on the opera, Cocteau in the Underworld.