It takes a writer of prodigious talents to conjure the Istanbul of the Ottoman Empire in all its
majesty. In three previous novels, Jason Goodwin has taken us on stylish, suspenseful, and vibrant excursions into its exotic territory. Now, in An Evil Eye, the mystery of Istanbul runs deeper than ever before.
It's 1839, and the admiral of the Ottoman fleet has defected to the Egyptians. It's up to the intrepid Investigator Yashim to uncover the man's motives. Of course, Fevzi Ahmet is no stranger to Yashim—it was Fevzi who taught the investigator his craft years ago. He's the only man whom Yashim has ever truly feared: ruthless, cruel, and unswervingly loyal to the sultan. So what could have led Yashim's former mentor to betray the Ottoman Empire?
Yashim's search draws him into the sultan's seraglio, a well-appointed world with an undercurrent of fear, ambition, and deep-seated superstition. When the women of the sultan's orchestra begin inexplicably to grow ill and die, Yashim discovers that the admiral's defection may be rooted somewhere in the torturous strictures of the sultan's harem.
No one knows more about the Ottoman Empire and Istanbul than Jason Goodwin, of whom Janet
Maslin wrote in The New York Times: "Mr. Goodwin uses rich historical detail to elevate the books in this series . . . far above the realm of everyday sleuthing."
This was a place where pillows spoke and birds were fed in the snow; where time itself unfolded at a different rate and clocks were banned; where sounds were different, and even the hyacinths too strong to sniff. Dramatic and passionate, comic and gruesome, Lords of the Horizons is a history, a travel book, and a vision of a lost world all in one.
Jason Goodwin's first Yashim mystery, The Janissary Tree, brought home the Edgar® Award for Best Novel. His follow-up, The Snake Stone, more than lived up to expectations and was hailed by Marilyn Stasio in The New York Times Book Review as "a magic carpet ride to the most exotic place on earth." Now, in The Bellini Card, Jason Goodwin takes us back into his "intelligent, gorgeous and evocative" (The Independent on Sunday) world, as dazzling as a hall of mirrors and utterly compelling.
Istanbul, 1840: the new sultan, Abdülmecid, has heard a rumor that Bellini's vanished masterpiece, a portrait of Mehmet the Conqueror, may have resurfaced in Venice. Yashim, our eunuch detective, is promptly asked to investigate, but -- aware that the sultan's advisers are against any extravagant repurchase of the painting -- decides to deploy his disempowered Polish ambassador friend, Palewski, to visit Venice in his stead. Palewski arrives in disguise in down-and-out Venice, where a killer is at large as dealers, faded aristocrats, and other unknown factions seek to uncover the whereabouts of the missing Bellini.
But is it the Bellini itself that endangers all, or something associated with its original loss? And why is it that all the killer's victims are somehow tied to the alluring Contessa d'Aspi d'Istria? Will the Austrians unmask Palewski, or will the killer find him first? Only Yashim can uncover the truth behind the manifold mysteries.
In four previous novels, Jason Goodwin's Inspector Yashim, the eunuch detective, has led us through stylish, suspenseful, and colorful mysteries in the Istanbul of the Ottoman Empire. Now, in The Baklava Club, Yashim returns for his final adventure—and his most thrilling yet.
Three naïve Italian liberals, exiled in Istanbul, have bungled their instructions to kill a Polish prince—instead, they've kidnapped him and absconded to an unused farmhouse. Little do they realize that their revolutionary cell has been penetrated by their enemies, who are passing along false orders under the code name La Piuma, the Feather.
It falls to Yashim to unravel all this—he's convinced that the prince is alive and that the Italians have hidden him somewhere. But there are just a few problems: He has no idea who La Piuma is, and he's in no mood to put up a fight—he's fallen in love! As he draws closer to the farmhouse and to the true identity of La Piuma, what Yashim discovers leaves him shocked and in the most dangerous situation of his career.
Goodwin has an eye for detail like no other, and in The Baklava Club he conjures Istanbul in all its glorious exoticism. This is a breathtaking, extraordinary conclusion to one of the most beloved series in mystery fiction, and its ending will leave you truly astonished.