The reactionary Adjutant General Khrapov, newly appointed governor-general of Siberia and soon-to-be minister of the interior, is murdered in his official saloon carriage on his way from St. Petersburg to Moscow. The killer, disguised as Fandorin, boards the train at Klin, where it has been delayed by snowdrifts on the line. He leaves a knife bearing the initials "CG" (Combat Group) thrust up to the hilt in his victim's chest and escapes through the window of the carriage. Fandorin is first arrested for the crime, but quickly released when the train pulls into Moscow and the General's staff realise their blunder. The murder threatens the career of Prince Dolgorukoi, Moscow's elderly governor-general, and Fandorin's greatest fan. He asks Fandorin to investigate, even though someone new, Prince Pozharsky, has been sent from St. Petersburg to head the investigation.