Arabesk, Paperback
2.5 out of 5 (1 rating)


When the wife of one of Istanbul's best known popular singers is found dead and his baby daughter missing, the newly promoted Inspector Suleyman, scion of one of Turkey's most aristocratic families, finds himself plunged into the magnificently vulgar, overblown world of Arabesk music, dominated by an ageing star, the monstrous chanteuse, Tansu.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Headline Publishing Group
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Crime & mystery
  • ISBN: 9780747262190



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So this funny little muddle starts out tricking you into thinking it's better than it is, and then ends up being . . . worse than it is? Nadel gets a certain amount of steam out of her special knowledge of the setting - those little nuggets of facts about Turkey or whatnot that are so easy to throw into a narrative and so diverting to people who don't know the country like she does. Turkey also gives her a certain amount of cover for the clumsy bits, like at the start when Ikmen says his stomach feels like it's "being stabbed by an invisible bastard" you're like, Turkish turnsof phrase are so hilariously picturesque! But that has worn thin long before the end and you realize she just doesn't have a flair for dialogue. And like, if it's JK Rowling it totally doesn't matter because the magical setting gives her a million pages of credit, but with Nadel the setting, Istanbul, might just about magick you enough to get her through the book if it weren't for some other niggling things, like the fixation with naming every little character - "I wonder what all the commotion is?" Tansu Babacan, a housewife shopping at the market, said to the fruit-seller, Erol Tandogan, and then you never see either character again kind of thing. Also there's some kind of orientalism or self-hatred or I don't know what in the fact that every female character in this book is either hateful, dumb or foreign. I mean, could happen, but if you're writing about a place where the role of women is as fraught as in Turkey, seems like you have a bit of a responsibility to either push back or, if it is actually your contention that this is how all Turkish women are, make it into a case by writing something with some verisimilitude instead of a cack-handed detective story. Otherwise it just seems like you're trying to disassociate yourself from your sistas.

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