Books: A Moral, Exportable Sleuth

GORKY PARK by Martin Cruz Smith; Random House; 365 pages; $13.95

Under the softening April snow of Moscow, red and blue flowers make their first appearance. They are accompanied by a more somber revelation: three bodies, frozen for months, their faces mutilated, their fingertips removed: deleted corpses, dead souls. It is an unpromising beginning for Chief Homicide Investigator Arkady Renko. But it is an auspicious opening for Gorky Park, the first thriller of the '80s with polish, wit and moral resonance.

Despite his country of origin, Arkady is not the customary exotic beloved...

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