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Belshazzar's Daughter (Cetin Ikmen) Hardcover – February 21, 2004
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From Publishers Weekly
British author Nadel's deep passion for Turkish culture and her intimate knowledge of that land come through vividly in this riveting crime drama set in present-day Istanbul, but with roots in two of the last century's epic bloodbaths. Police Inspector Aetin Ikmen, alcoholic, chain-smoking, but somehow endearing, looks into the brutal murder and disfigurement of an aged Jewish immigrant that appears to have neo-Nazi implications. With his youthful colleague Mehmet Suleyman in tow, Ikmen leads us through the back alleys, brothels and barrooms of the city's roughest neighborhoods in an absorbing investigation that involves suspects of many nationalities and mental states, each suffering from a different form of madness or obsession. Midway through their complicated inquiry, Ikmen declares that the case is like reconstructing "a shattered mirror" whose pieces have flown off in many different directions. With rapid scene shifts and a constantly changing cast of characters, that mirror is gradually pieced back together to provide a glimpse of the gory end of the tsarist regime in Russia nearly a century ago, and the ongoing terrors of those who survived the carnage only to relive it in their minds. Stunning final twists in this disturbing tale suggest that history's cycles of violence and evil will continue unabated. FYI: This is the author's first book to be published in the U.S.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Istanbul police inspector Cetin Ikmen, never without his brandy and cigarettes, has his hands full when an old man turns up dead in Balat, the rundown Jewish quarter of the city. With his handsome partner, Suleyman; medical examiner Dr. Sarkissian; and skirt-chasing officer Cohen offering assistance, Ikmen begins investigating the puzzling crime. He discovers a strange group of expatriate suspects: a bored, lovesick Englishman teaching at a language school; an old German textile manufacturer with Nazi sympathies; and an odd Russian family stuck in the prerevolutionary past. As the team slowly unravels the complex chain of events that led to the victim's demise, Ikmen's wife gives birth to their ninth child, and Suleyman tries to find the courage to keep his mother from arranging an unwanted marriage. Nadel's first novel is a real treat. The city of Istanbul provides a rich background for an engaging plot and a cast of remarkably well developed, colorful characters. Add Inspector Ikmen and his motley crew to the growing list of outstanding fictional cops plying their trades across all parts of Europe and Asia, which have become hotbeds of police procedural excellence. Barbara Bibel
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Top Customer Reviews
The writing was delightful -Nadel's characters virtually leap off the page as she jumps from one character's perspective to another showing their struggles and thoughts of one another, exposing some of their secrets while hinting at others and leaving red herrings for readers to wrestle with. The descriptions of Istanbul were vivid, the interactions between the police inspector and his subordinate, Sulieman and his superiors certainly laid the groundwork for future stories. For these reasons I will read more by this author.
Nadel's complex interrelationship between suspects perhaps set the bar too high for her to deliver when the story was all said and done - the tantalizing clues and dirt that each had on the other created a sense of anticipation for a stronger conclusion than she delivered. In the end it felt almost as if Nadel was tired of the story and needed a quick conclusion to be done with it. Perhaps given the strong historical roots of several of the characters, she found herself painted in a corner. Either way, I found the resolution a let down.
Nonetheless, Nadel is clearly a talented and gifted writer. I am willing to giver her a second chance and scratch the frustrating ending up to a first-time writer (or perhaps weak editing.) There is much to like here, and much to recommend my mediocre star rating aside.