3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars
Erudite Intrigue, 5 Feb. 2006
If Iain Pears is your kind of mystery writer, then don't miss The Sultan's Seal. Set in Istanbul in the tumultuous period of the 1880s when Young Ottomans were mounting a campaign to overthrow the Sultan and establish a democracy, this is a many layered love story with murders. A rare black orchid tumbles and its neck is broken; a police inspector squirms below a painting of a naked lady hanging in the reception rooms of the British Embassy; three ladies meet in a closed down hamam on the Bosphorous shore and one dies; a European lady of stature falls in love with a Turkish dignitary. Intrique, passion, forbidden love of several types, and all in beautiful prose. I stayed up all night reading it.