Finished Part 1, Chapter 3, which was primarily concerned with the social intrigue in Stepan's social circle; matchmaking, paranoia about past indiscretion and future infidelity. A new character, the engineer Alexei Nilych Kirillov, has appeared, and seems to be a potential source of disruption and upheaval. His theories about suicide appear to serve both as illustrative of his nihilism (Nilych... cute, no?) and possible foreshadowing either in literal terms or more metaphorically, in line with his assertion that to fearlessly commit suicide is to become God. Though, of course, he like Stepan claims to be athiest.
It's difficult at this point for me to imagine what relevance a lot of the events of this chapter may have to the story later on. Certainly there is a deepening of mistrust and ulterior motive between the various characters. Seeds are being planted which will surely produce discord among the ranks of either the political club or the town's aristocracy. Stepan is revealed to be even more ridiculous and contemptible than we've previously seen and it's clear that Anonymous Chronicler (though slightly less anonymous now) has no desire, in the future of his retelling, anyway, to present Stepan in any kind of sympathetic light. Stepan is at the mercy of his ego, still wishing to be seen as important, influential and dangerous, and is tortured by both unrequited love (in the form of the domineering Varvara) and inappropriate/impossible ardor (for his former student Praskovya Ivanovna Drozdov). Is it this latter infatuation with Praskovya that drives a wedge between Stepan and the AC? AC has revealed his desire to be "introduced" to Praskovya, even though he realizes an actual pairing with her is impossible.
Anyway, I'm hoping that Dostoevsky will soon move on from putting the pieces on the board and begin the actual game. Then again, we're still in the first act and perhaps the slow build of anticipation is entirely what Fyodor is intending to achieve here.