I have never felt a real passion for Russian literature, with it's typical cold descriptions of emotions, lots of characters (often with multiple complicated names), and the tendency to describe boring and unimportant matters in full detail. I am, of course, exaggerating, and there are exceptions (personally I am a fan of Dostoyevsky's work). But this book is not.The real action only begins around three quarters into the book, and consists of a rather simple murder story. The announced 'surprising ending' is not as surprising as I had hoped, and is quite abrupt.The main advantage of this book is that it is not too long, and probably a nice introduction to Tsjechov's larger works if you have a few hours of spare time. But you will have to struggle through the dull first 120 pages before things get interesting.