Crime and Punishment is, to put it simply, a riveting book. It starts quite slowly although from the first couple of pages you get a strong sense of the tension, hyper-paranoia, and mental hypochondria suffered by the protagonist. Once the murder has been committed, Dostoevsky takes the reader on a detailed and thoroughly intriguing journey into the mental anguish of the perpetrator who is torn between confessing his crime or living with the guilt. Furthermore, Dostoevsky manifests questions about lawful murder (and how this is used to obtain and maintain power and authority), religion and morality, as well as providing some astute psychological insight into the mental state of those who commit crime and are later executed by their own conscience. Dostoevsky was a limitlessly gifted writer and he executes his prose superbly, attributing the correct word or phrase to create the appropriate effect on the reader. There is an array of characters who swoop in and out of the story, each as wonderful as the others and providing some new kind of edge or angle to the storyline: from the luckless Marmeladoff - whose life-story in one of the early chapters certainly tugs at a few heart strings -, to the the crafty and manipulative magistrate Porphyrius or the vile and loathsome Svidrigailoff, each character is brilliant and emotion inducing in some way. This marvellous book by such an exquisite writer as Dostoevsky is a MUST read for everyone whether they read no other in their lifetime, such is the depth and breadth of its content. As I have mentioned it does start a little slowly but once the first two or three chapters have passed the pace of the story increases and Dostoevsky weaves and twists the characters around the plot so that by the time it really gets going each chapter becomes a cliffhanger, leading the reader to eagerly turn each page and, in my case, want to abandon an hour or two of sleep or go to work an hour or two late just so I could digest more and more of what is a most delectible literary banquet.