Saturday, 13 September 2014

Petrified

Finished September 13
Petrified by Barbara Nadel

This is the 6th book in the series featuring Inspector Çetin Ỉkmen of Istanbul, but the first I've read. Ỉkmen is in his mid-fifties and his mother, an Albanian, was known as the witch of Uskudar. Ỉkmen is said to have inherited her abilities. Here, Ỉkmen is investigating what appears to be a kidnapping. The two young children of controversial artist Melih Akdeniz have gone missing. The artist creates works on controversial themes, like a series of carpets woven with human hair and depicting sexual organs. He has spurned most other artists in the area as uninspired and lacking talent and thus has made himself many professional enemies.Ỉkmen feels something is not right about Akdeniz and his wife's story despite their obvious love for their children.  Ỉkmen's deputy, Ayşe Farsakoğlu, has been in her position only six months, but had worked as a uniformed officer on some of his cases before that. She is a single woman in her early thirties with a modern outlook, and is a good foil for Ỉkmen.
One of Ỉkmen's fellow Inspector's sergeants, Ỉsak Çöktin, is investigating another case. An elderly woman, Rosita Keyder, has been found dead in her home, seemingly of natural causes. However, another body is found in the home as well, a young man dressed in clothes from Argentina, and it soon becomes apparent that he has died some time previously and his body has been preserved. But who is her, why is he there, and when did he die.
Çöktin works for Inspector Mehmet Suleyman, who is busy trying to find information on Rostov, a Russian gangster who seems to be growing his territory and influence in the city. Suleyman has been approached by a prostitute, Masha, who seems eager to provide information, and to know Suleyman's weaknesses.
The three cases come together in interesting ways and I enjoyed the inventiveness of the plotline. I also found the home lives of the various characters interesting and enjoyed the way that each had its own effect on the plot
This novel's also brings in the complexities of religion. Rosita Keyder is Catholic. The pathologist Arto Sarkissian is Orthodox Christian. Çöktin is Yezidi, the native Kurdish religion. Ỉkmen's daughter Hulya , a Muslim is in love with a young Jewish man, Berekiah Cohen, son of a former colleague of Ỉkmen. As the novel is set post 9/11 but before the Iraq war on Saddam Hussein has begun, this aspect of religious war also comes into the plot.
All-in-all a very enjoyable mystery, and a series I'd like to read more of.

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