A violent murder in 1992 Istanbul appears to be fueled by anti-Semitism.
Soon after high-strung British schoolteacher Robert Cornelius, working in Istanbul at the Londra Language School, is surprised to see his Turkish lover Natalia rushing down a street of the seamy Jewish Quarter of the city, the brutalized body of elderly Leonid Meyer, a Russian Jew who emigrated during the 1918 Revolution, is found nearby beneath a swastika etched in blood on the wall above his bed. Investigating the murder are an odd couple of police officers: obsessive chain-smoking veteran Inspector Ikmen and earnest model-handsome neophyte Sergeant Suleyman. Britisher Nadel, in her US debut, provides full pictures of Ikmen’s and Suleyman’s home lives. The inspector lives with his domineering, very pregnant wife Fatma, the sergeant with his parents in a household ruled by his mother. But their investigation seems no more important than the combustible, and finally overlapping, relationship between Robert and the volatile, duplicitous Natalia (he confides his love woes to the understanding, slightly older Rachel, who clearly desires him). Maria Gulcu, Natalia’s grandmother, was Meyer’s lover several decades earlier, though she claims they have lost touch of late, and Robert was convicted of assault of a Jewish lawyer several years ago in London. What connections will Nadel’s leisurely narrative uncover?
The florid writing, strong sense of setting, and sprawling structure should find an audience, but not among hardcore whodunit fans.