A mysterious stranger named Chichikov arrives in a small provincial Russian town and
proceeds to visit a succession of landowners, making each of them an unusual and
somewhat macabre proposition. He offers to buy the rights to the dead serfs who are
still registered on the landowner's estate, thus reducing their liability for taxes. It is not
clear what Chichikov's intentions are with the dead serfs he is purchasing, and despite
his attempts to ingratiate himself, his strange behaviour arouses the suspicions of everyone
in the town.
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