The novel is characterized by the author himself as "theatrical" for a reason. There is plenty of theatre here. At the request of the widow of Anton Pavlovich Chekhov, the famous sleuth Erast Petrovich Fandorin arrives at the most fashionable theatre "Noah's Ark". His chief task is to prevent unknown deadly danger threatening the prima of the theatre – Eliza Altayirskaya. Sure enough, there appears a viper in the bunch of flowers, presented to her by an unknown admirer. The actress's inner turmoil and distress move Fandorin to such an extent that he feels somewhat being in love with her. Overwhelmed by those feelings, he even writes, specially for Eliza, a play in Oriental style titled "Two Comets in Starless Sky". But while the detective is writhing at the throes of infatuation, something horrible begins to happen at the theatre – the actors, the audience and the fans die one by one… Will Fandorin, blind with love, be able to pull himself together and take the matter in hand?