More comparisons:

Boris Akunin’s The Winter Queen has been called a Russian version of an Ian Fleming book. Sure it is full of restless adventure clich’s but actually the book is far closer to John Buchan’s style of derring do*. The Fleming reference only comes in at the last chapter, where the spurned and thwarted villain exacts revenge on the hero Fandorin in a manner similar to On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. It is not as affecting as Bond’s tragedy though, as the young lady in question seems to have been shoe-horned into the last few chapters merely to (at first sight) give the hero a happy ending and then (on second sight) to give him a tragedy. It is a bit unfortunate because the rest of the book had been a rather good fun romp.

The book also suffers when the villain’s masterplan is revealed: not only is it a good plan, but actually does not seem to be in any way dastardly. I felt sorry for the villain, which I suppose is why we needed the final act to mark them off as actually evil. Unfortunately in books we don’t get Louis Armstrong singing “We Have All The Time In The World”. Just an introductory paragraph to Akunin’s next book Leviathan (which riffs on Agatha Christie, apparently).

*And surely, if we are looking at this stuff stylistically, there is probably a pair of translators involved before any direct claims of plagarism are even considered.