Crime and Punishment is a great book, but it took me awhile to get around to reading The Brothers Karamazov. Dostoyevsky is a master in character creation and development. He weaves in all the important social, political, and religious discussions of the time period in a manner that is not overbearing.
By reading a synopsis of the book, you may infer that the whole novel will be related to the death of Fyodor Pavlovitch, in the same way Crime and Punishment is with Raskolnikov's murder. However, the death doesn't happen until nearly the middle of the story. The difference in The Brothers Karamzov is that Dostoyevsky spends an enormous amount of time and diligence in developing the characters and the relationships between them. Without such development, the murder trial would not have had the same effect.
Possibly it is my translation, but I was surprised by how much of a page-turner this this large tome is, and I breezed through the pages. I can certainly see how parts of the novel can be tedious, such as the parts with Father Zossima or Illusha that do not have direct bearing on the main plot. Yet, I don't have the opinion that there are superfluous. I think Dostoyevsky was attempting to display the variety of thought in the Russian culture at the time, and the beginning shift to socialism and revolution. The rise of the peasants, the fall of the noble classes - look at the Karamazov family, once wealthy and honorable, and now have very little pride remaining.
Certainly the women in the book do not act particularly sane or honorable, and I wonder what the reason for that is. Katerina Ivanovna still remains a mystery to me as to her intentions. Maybe the Russians are so full of guilt and despair that it has taken over all of them? That it is difficult to be someone like Alexei with all the mischief and badness in the world?
I did not immediately guess the outcome of the murder or the trial, and I like how Dostoyevsky kept detail in secret. Additionally, I enjoyed the differences in the speeches between the cases at the end. It is amazing to understand how the same information can be perceived in different ways, all determined by the individual. I am not someone who reads a lot of crime or mystery stories, so maybe the Brothers Karamazov is not actually an intricate or action-packed plot, but I appreciated the view on the justice system and the actual "justice" an individual places on him/herself for a crime, and which of the two is more truthful and correct.