Possibly not as great as his longer, more complex Demons (aka The Devils), but an excellent entry point to the work of one of the greatest novelists of all time. It concerns a student who, as many students do, gets a little carried away with an over-theoretical view of life and murders his landlady in the process, believing this may not greatly matter. What follows is a four hundred page lockdown inside this young man’s tortured, fearful mind as he drifts around a vividly teeming St Petersburg, trying to elude suspicion and overpowering guilt, pursued latterly by an eccentric sleuth who is almost certainly the model for the 1970s TV detective Colombo.
Raskolnikov is a former student living in poverty, who, prompted by utilitarian morality and the belief that expectional individuals are not bound by the same moral code as everyone else, decides to commit a random murder. Despite the lack of remorse or regret, he is haunted by his own conscience and a crushing sense of guilt, leading to his eventual confession and a life-changing realisation.