Top positive review
4 people found this helpful
Some excellent descriptive writing
on 18 June 2014
I'd not read any of the Yashim novels before but I had no problem picking up any references to past events.
This book is set in nineteenth century Turkey at the end of the Ottoman Empire when the country is decaying and losing its way. This pervades the whole book - the descriptions of the sights and sounds of the city and the portrayal of the characters. Also in the city are revolutionaries from Eastern Europe, an Irish priest, a Russian princess, an Ottoman dowager and a Polish diplomat. The story concentrates on the characters and their possible involvement in a murder which is investigated by Yashin who has an official role with the rump court which has been left in Istanbul.
It is wise not to concentrate too much on the intricacies of the plot as it doesn't stand up to much scrutiny but if you dwell on the characterisations and enjoy the atmosphere which the author conjours up from small details then you will find this very enjoyable - although a little slow. In amongst the decaying court and refugees in the city are details of delight often revolving around food. The corruption and poverty of the city and the court does not disguise moments of kindness. The ending is not predictable but partly sad and partly lifeaffirming.
An interesting setting which is well portrayed with some excellent characterisation and descriptive writing. I am not sure that I particularly want to read many others in the series but i did enjoy this one. Thanks to the publishers for a free copy made available via NetGalley.