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Customer reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars

on 8 November 2009
Any and every detective series that wants to keep going as a series risks repetition, and Mehment Murat Somer is too intelligent not to be thinking how to move forwards. The variety and the defiance that were part of The Prophet Murders are here still, but there's new moodiness, new kinds of dark and new brightness too. The transvestite club remains on the go, but the would-be Audrey Hepburn who is the owner/manager/detective has been off the scene, at home nursing heartbreak. This is his comeback from gloominess, first of all under the tender care of Ponpon, the drag queen who's best at being an off-stage house-wife, and then as he becomes involved in more crime-solving.
There's reappearances of old cast members, showing up like cameo guest stars in a Christmas spectacular. Huseyin the taxi-driver is still smitten, and gets a scene of sulking, and than a scene of petulant reconciliation. Hasan the ever-efficient waiter turns out to have a life and therefore troubles. Even the doorman Cuneyt looks to be on the verge of turning into a person. And there's a new balance being struck with dangerous Kemal, whose rival computer håcking operation (otherwise Cihad2000) enters into a somewhat truce with our hero/ine.
But alongside the fluff and the fun there's a very sharply etched plot line, linking the posh end of the legal world, the dodgy side of international banking, and the guys who drive minibuses (dolmus) along the shores of Istanbul. One is the gigolo of the title, and when his body is found stabbed in the forest, the underlying connections between each of these worlds begins to come to light.
This is not Stieg Larrsen, whose Millenium trilogy opened up onto conspiracies and strangeness, however. It's all much more normal, more everyday. The drag queens contribute the theatre, which goes on, but meanwhile there's relentless uncovering of how a city functions, how the moneyed class and the hotel class, and the poet class - and even the schoolboys - connect up together. The clarity is impressive. No small world this one.
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on 20 September 2010
An unputdownable thriller that trawls through the high life and dark underbelly of Istanbul. This book simply flows. Better still, the author is so passionate about his/her city that panoramas of the modern day cultural metropolis shine through at every juncture.

If you love Agatha Christie, and are planning a trip to Istanbul, buy this book.
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on 6 July 2014
The unusual twist in Somer’s Hop-Çiki-Yaya series set in Istanbul, Turkey, is the amateur sleuth: a gay, transvestite drag queen, who is vain, camp, catty, impulsive, dramatic, brave, and wears his heart on his expensively clad sleeve. He’s also a dab hand at Thai boxing and a skilled computer hacker. He leads a colourful life, surrounded by a menagerie of larger than life and quirky characters and a penchant for putting his nose in where it’s not necessarily wanted. The result is an interesting lead character whose boundary challenging exploits are good fun to follow. Indeed, The Gigolo Murder has a streak of light humour running throughout. The plot is appealing enough, charting the investigation in to the death of a man abused as a child and exploited as an adult by his family, and it provides an interesting glimpse of different elements of Istanbul’s subcultures: minibus/taxi drivers, drag queen clubs, rich high society. There’s plenty of twists and turns, though it relies on a couple of plot devices at times. Overall, an entertaining read and a fresh contribution to the genre.
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on 12 June 2010
This is the third Hop Çiki-Yaya book to be translated into English. The second, "The Kiss Murder", was a bit of a disappointment but this is a welcome return to form. It's a riotous mixture of high camp and high tension. Imagine Miss Marple, Hello magazine and Armistead Maupin all in one novel. I particularly like the "country house" ending. And they said that genre was dead...
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on 22 October 2013
I've enjoyed the three books in this series so far as translated by Kenneth Dakan, but Amazon and the publisher need to fix the formatting of the books pronto before the next one comes out. Turkish diacriticals are rendered as nigh-unreadable bitmaps instead of appearing as text. Please fix soon as it mars my enjoyment of this otherwise fun to read series of queer-tinged Istanbul mysteries.
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