- Paperback: 304 pages
- Publisher: Faber & Faber; Main edition (3 May 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0571239900
- ISBN-13: 978-0571239900
- Product Dimensions: 12.5 x 1.7 x 19.8 cm
- Average Customer Review: 33 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 279,880 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
An Evil Eye (Yashim the Ottoman Detective) Paperback – 3 May 2012
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"When you read a historical mystery by Jason Goodwin, you take a magic-carpet ride to the most exotic place on earth." --Marilyn Stasio, "The New York Times Book Review ""Goodwin is an author of many strengths...[and his books] just keep getting better....The complicated plot that unfolds is deftly controlled throughout....Goodwin's prose is sharp and surprising." --"The Washington Post""Exotic...An elegant meditation on the Ottoman psyche. Goodwin is as concerned with capturing the sights, sounds, and recipes as he is with the murders." --"Financial Times (London)" "Goodwin continues to create historical mysteries with an A-quality plot, excellent historical detail, and a strong sense of place....He is still at the top of his game." --"Booklist ""A great addition to a superb series." --"The Globe and Mail (London)" "In Yashim's investigations the stakes are high indeed....The bare outlines are enlivened by Goodwin's skillful use of color and detail, especially Yashim's recipes, which set the reader drooling. As a historian, Goodwin is scrupulous." --"The Independent (London)" "When you read a historical mystery by Jason Goodwin, you take a magic carpet ride to the most exotic place on earth." -Marilyn Stasio, "The New York Times Book Review"
An Evil Eye by Jason Goodwin is the thrilling new Yashim the Detective mystery.See all Product description
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The series begins with the Janissary Tree The Janissary Tree ('Yashim the Eunuch' Mystery)and it is the best place to start. Here you will be introduced to the characters who feature in each succeeding story and learn the language of the imperial harem and Ottoman Istanbul. Next comes 'The Snake Stone' and the third story is 'The Bellini Card'. The Bellini Card ('Yashim the Eunuch' Mystery) For me it was the least successful of the series, much of the action of the Bellini Card takes place in Venice and I missed the claustrophobic atmosphere created so well in the intrigues of the imperial coterie in Istanbul.
In 'An Evil Eye' we are back on familiar territory in Istanbul and it does not disappoint. The action begins with a body found in the well inside an Orthodox monastery. The local muslim men get the idea that the Greek monks have killed a muslim and are holding his body. A confrontation ensues - enter Yashim to diffuse this delicate situation. He discovers the dead man is not a muslim - but who is he? How did he get into the well? Who put him there and why? Yasim's investigation unravels a web of treachery, blackmail and feud.
Meanwhile the Sultan has just died and as his teenage son takes possession of the new Beziktas Palace, the late Sultan's harem ladies are all expelled from the palace to make room for young Sultan's collection of ladies. There is uproar and confusion. Many of the 'old' ladies are relocated to the old Topkapi palace which is presided over by the valide' mother of the late Sultan. Meanwhile the late Sultan's sister rules the roost in Beziktas. Two palaces each with scheming and division and death.
As the story builds to a climax all of these story lines are brought together with an act of national betrayal which threatens the peace of Istanbul - Russia and Egypt loom as threats. But no fear! Yashim sorts it all out. An exciting, entertaining story, in a dream location with the added benefit of a few of Yashim's tasty recipes judiciously scattered to flavour the tale. I am glad to see that a 5th book is planned.
PS: I think it would be useful to have a very brief 'Glossary' at the end of the book.
The book's pleasure is to go with Yashmin through Constantinople's streets and alleys. Readers can bury themselves in another world populated by characters ranging from the villainous, the eccentric, the mediocre and the honourable. We are passengers in boats across the Bosphorus, shiver in the Turkish winter, inhale the charcoal under the kebabs and savour the spices, especially when Yashmin is the chef. The atmospheric narrative is a real pleasure.
I have read all the books in the series up to this one. Though I would rate the first book, The Janissary Tree, as the best, I would recommend Yashmin as pleasing company through meandering plots at the centre of an Ottoman world in slow decline.
The sprawling plot of this novel - drawing together the body of a murdered man dragged from a monastery well, the changes of the harem arising from a new sultan, and a threat of betrayal to the Ottoman state - can be confusing and rendered moreso by the array of characters over multiple locations. But the journey through the labyrintine plot brings with it huge pleasures, including asides on the history of the Ottoman empire, the machinations of the harem, evocative descriptions of the city of Istanbul, and good cooking: Yashim takes his cooking seriously and frequently unpicks plot difficulties while chopping his vegetables.
So an enjoyable, evocative read, that illuminates, most entertainingly, an unfamiliar time and place.
This one contains the usual ingredients of a sprawling, complex plot, the flavors, sights and smells of mid 19th Century Istanbul and as usual a huge cast of characters who all have their own secrets to hide and fear what Yashim may uncover.
This time its not only Yashim's life that may be under threat but also his life in the outer city ....
Shame about the tacky cover pic - even advertising a kindle edition it's off-putting. Needs something more atmospheric and classy for an atmospheric, classy read!
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