Hotel Bosphorus, Hardback Book
2.5 out of 5 (5 ratings)


Kati Hirschel, in her thirties, is the proud owner of Istanbul's only crime bookshop.

When the German director of a film starring an old school friend is found murdered in his hotel room Kati cannot resist the temptation to start her own maverick investigation.

After all her friend Petra is the police's principal suspect and reading all those detective novels must have taught Kati something.

This is a crime story but also a wonderful book about Istanbul and Turkish society.

It uses humour, social commentary and even erotic fantasy to expose Western European prejudices about Turkey as well as Turkish stereotyping of other Europeans.


  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Bitter Lemon Press
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Crime & mystery
  • ISBN: 9781904738688

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Showing 1 - 5 of 5 reviews.

Review by

Having worked as a bookseller for a number of years, I am perhaps more irritated than the average reader by books in which characters who own bookstores (as does Kati Hirschel, the protagonist of this mystery series set in Istanbul) spend almost no time at all in them, leaving the running of their implausibly profitable businesses to some equally implausibly compliant employee who is always available to take over from them on a moment's notice and for an indefinite period of time while they go about the business of being amateur detectives. That being said, there were things about this book that I found interesting and enjoyable -- notably the unusual setting in Istanbul and the very different perspective represented by Kati, a German emigre living by preference in Turkey. Neither the characters nor the plotting of the central crime rise much above average, but they do give Aykol a way to air her insights into contemporary Turkish society and culture, and to skewer the prejudices harbored by both Turks and Europeans in a city where Asia and Europe collide.

Review by

I did enjoy learning about the culture and scenery of Istanbul, also liked the main character. She rubs a bookstore that sells thrillers and mysteries, although there is not all that much about the bookstore. I don't know if it was the translation or what, but there is some repetition and in parts the dialogue sounds stilted. Will read the next one published here because it did hold my interest.

Review by

First Line: I keep driving around, but there's nowhere to park near the shop.Parking in Istanbul can be a problem, and since Kati Hirschel is usually running a bit late to open her business-- the only mystery bookshop in town-- she's just going to have to park and run. Having recently lost her part-time employee, Kati does need to hire someone else, but she's also anticipating meeting Petra, an old school friend she hasn't seen for years. Kati is a German ex-pat who's fallen in love with Istanbul. Petra went on to become a very popular actress in Germany, and has come to Turkey to star in a new film; however, everything is put on hold when the film's director is found murdered in his hotel room. Petra is the prime suspect, and Kati can't resist running her own amateur investigation. After all, reading all those mysteries has surely taught her something.I found that my enjoyment of this book relied a lot upon my opinion of its main character, and I was alternately exasperated and delighted. I did really like the insider's point of view, especially since Kati is an ex-pat because it exposed both Western prejudices about Turkey as well as Turkish stereotyping of Europeans. Moreover, since Kati's investigating style was rather hit or miss, I also learned quite a few things about different sections of Istanbul.Kati has always been single, and never passes up the opportunity to ogle-- or bed-- a handsome, interesting man, and this led to one of the things that annoyed me. A handsome, interesting (and interested) policeman falls right into Kati's lap, and after a brief encounter, she dumps him with no explanation. You see, Kati was raised to hate the police, and she just can't overcome that prejudice. Then there was the way the book was written. Kati is speaking to us, and although I don't mind being brought into the story, and I can think of many, many books in which I loved the first person viewpoint, I draw the line at constantly being referred to as "dear reader." As the dear reader of this review, I found this tendency made the narrative stilted and gimmicky.Kati's investigative technique was all over the place. If she was paid by the mile, she could hire all the employees she needs and never have to work in her bookshop again. This scattered approach allowed her to meet various characters such as stock film types and a stock mobster and his minions as well as take a trip to Berlin.No, this book isn't long on character or plot development, but I did find it a light, fun read. If it's substance you crave, I would strongly suggest reading Barbara Nadel's Inspector Ikmen mysteries which are also set in Istanbul.

Review by

I enjoyed this mystery for a variety of reasons, mostly the breezy style, the setting and the cultural exposition. The depiction of both the Turkish and the German police as either incompetent, corrupt or uncaring bothered me because it was unrealistic as was the way the main protagonist Kati has of making a living. She has the only crime book bookstore in Istambul that is run in such a haphazard fashion it is amazing it stays open, but it seems her life is haphazard as well. Somehow the book worked for me.

Review by

Life is too short for bad books... Haven't finished it.

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