Saturday, June 21, 2014

abyssinian proof

The Abyssinian Proof is the second novel by Jenny White, and the second in her series of Kamil Pasha mystery novels set in Constantinople in the late 1800s. The first is The Sultan's Seal, and the third is called The Winter Thief. this is only one I've read so far White has done some serious research into Turkey and has written a number of books on Turkey beginning in college. Her most recent book is also on the subject. SO, I'm saying, the lady knows her way around Turkey. And that shows in her writing.

White has put together a detective in the old timey tradition, similar to a Sherlock or a Dr. Thorndyke story, from that grand era in the late 1800s to the early 1900s, which includes such great protagonists as Charlie Chan, Hercule Poirot, and others. And her detective, Kamil Pasha fit in there well with his peers. White has created a sleuth, that like so many of these earlier generation detectives, weren't actually detectives, and are more the 'unwilling hero' a la Joseph Campbell. Kamil Pasha is mid-level judge, and does what he can to aid the police in solving crimes, if only to satisfy his betters above. At least to begin with.

Kamil Pasha is soft spoken, thoughtful, measured, fair and very thorough. He is also a bachelor, reasonably well off and grows orchids in his small greenhouse. White weaves a very compelling and fast paced story, spinning in threads from religion, history, mysticism and cult practice to the politics and class struggles of Constantinople in that era.

This was a fun one, and I'll be looking for the others. Read this book.

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