It is the year Rumi year 1302 or 1886 by the Christian calendar. The setting is Istanbul where the naked body of a white woman had been found floating in the Bosphorus. Around her neck is a pendant that contains the tughra, the Sultan's seal - a signature that is only found on special possessions of the imperial household. For Kamil Pasha, the ...Read MoreIt is the year Rumi year 1302 or 1886 by the Christian calendar. The setting is Istanbul where the naked body of a white woman had been found floating in the Bosphorus. Around her neck is a pendant that contains the tughra, the Sultan's seal - a signature that is only found on special possessions of the imperial household. For Kamil Pasha, the city's magistrate, there are echoes of a similar murder - of an English governess - that took place eight years before. There are also links to a woman called Jaanan, a member of Ottoman high society who has fallen into disgrace.The body of the first victim was discovered, drowned, on the estate where she lived with her mother and uncle. Jaanan was a priveleged child who grew up amongst the 'veiled ladies' of the court but her life changed when she fell in love with a man who was involved in a plot to overturn the Sultan. Sybil is the daughter of the English Amabassador and as such, has unique access to the most prominent circles in the Court. She uses her connections to help Kamil Pasha infiltate the secrets world of the harem, and gradually falls in love with him. As they work to untangle the threads of both murders they make powerful enemies in a dramatic tale of court intrigue and revenge.Read Less
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I love the "cozy" English mystery; the kind where horror happens in an everyday setting and the author plays fair, for if one is sharp one can spot the villain before the end of the book as all the clues are there in the text. The author keeps nothing back for the bafflement of his reader. I bought this one because its advertising compared it to Conan Doyle and Agatha Christie. Sad to say, not true. The craftsmanship of the writing is superb; each image is painted in jewel-toned colors. The immediacy of the text draws the reader instantly into Victorian Istanbul with first-person narrative, extracts of personal letters and the use of "Kamil sees" instead of "Kamil saw". Paragraphs of description are delights instead of tedium. Where it all falls down is the plot. The author becomes involved with one character to the exclusion of caring about the others. Once that side story is finished, the loose threads are left hanging for them all. It's like a beautiful Ottoman carpet woven perfectly until the last edge, then it is ripped off the loom and left jagged and unraveling. Perhaps the author intends a sequel? I'm afraid I won't buy it.
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