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MOSCOW 1987: With Gorbachev’s Soviet Union in a state of flux and uncertainty, Londoner Norman ‘Nobby’ Robert Jackson — amateur Classicist, fluent Russian-speaker, business consultant and blackmarketeer living comfortably in Moscow with two mistresses — is approached by a fellow British businessman to locate the ‘Apsheron icon’. All is not what it seems, however. Next day ‘Nobby’ discovers the man brutally bludgeoned to death in his hotel room. Who has killed him, and why? Pursued to Yalta with his mistresses, he finds he has become the target for a killer. Determined to find those responsible for a series of brutal murders of friends and associates attending a British trade exhibition in Moscow, ‘Nobby’ finds his quest entangling him with Major Shcheglov of the Moscow Police, Grigori Vladimirovitch of the KGB, and George Trenden, head of the SIS’s Soviet Desk, taking him from Yalta to Moscow, London and Devon and back to Moscow again on the trail of a mysterious and powerful international cabal conspiring to change the course of history.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: I first met Barry Jones in Moscow in the late 1980s when I was travelling regularly to Russia (as publisher of Arguments and Facts International, and Central Asia and the Caucasus in World Affairs) and I promised him at the time that I would try to ensure his novels saw the light of day. MOSCOW AIN’T SUCH A BAD PLACE is the first of his ‘Moscow’ novels, a compelling story peopled by fascinating characters, and providing a sympathetic and unique insight into the people and pattern of daily life in Moscow during the heady days of glasnost, perestroika, and the dramatic buildup to the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991.
Barry Jones was Moscow’s own cross between Sir Kenneth Clark and Arthur Dailey, a scholar, raconteur and Mr Fix-it, well known for his ability to arrange almost anything in the city that he made his home from 1976 until his expulsion — in chains — from the Russian Federation in 2001. He had made one powerful enemy too many. Barry died seven years ago, in Cornwall, in unexplained circumstances. Before he died, however, he sent me the manuscript of the sequel work, MOSCOW AIN’T THE PLACE IT USED TO BE, a massive three volume novel on a par with War and Peace: 1991 – The Gangland Speculation; 1993 – The Political Option; 1996 – The Terrorist Solution, gripping stories which we will seek to publish in due course.
(Barry Jones lived and worked in Moscow for twenty-five years (1976-2001) as a translator, translating over sixty books in a variety of specialist and non-specialist subjects, eg. economics, philosophy, politics, sociology, taxation, customs documentation, music, sport, art, philately, circus & entertainment, and much else.
From 1991 to 1994 he was Head of Legal and Business Translation at the INTERFAX News agency in Moscow where he translated the Constitutions of the Russian Federation and those of each of the former Soviet Republics. He also translated dozens of laws, statutes, presidential decrees and other legislative and legal documents as well as a continuous flow of articles on oil and gas, agriculture, mining and minerals, finance and banking, and commerce in general.
In 1995 he began work on a two-year project to translate the archives of more than 100 Russian museums for the US Library of Congress, part of which can be viewed on “ArcheoBiblioBase: The Archives of Russia” (www.iisg.nl)
From then until his expulsion in chains on trumped up charges in 2001 he worked as a freelance translator. His biggest projects were “The Celestial Garden” – by the playwright, Azat Abdullin — on the life of Rudolf Nuriyev — and a series of learned articles on medieval Georgian astronomy.)