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Hotel Bosphorus by Esmahan Aykol

Hotel Bosphorus (2001)

by Esmahan Aykol

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10113180,329 (2.84)9

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English (11)  Italian (2)  All languages (13)
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Non ci siamo proprio. Non è che Sellerio può spacciare qualsiasi ciofeca sotto la copertura della sua elengante copertina blu di Prussia. Il movente ( e dunque l'assassino) è chiaro prima ancora dell'omicidio. Un record! Buona l'atmosfera istanbulina (ma anche in questo caso ci acchiappa di più Markaris). Fastidiosa la protagonista tedesca (che in realtà è turca ed è l'autrice) un po' troppo frivola e senza alcuno spessore psicologico (minimo per carità, nessuno cerca Proust in un giallo! ma un personaggio deve essere credibile). La stessa piattezza e inconsistenza affligge i personaggi di contorno, per non parlare del poliziotto turco la cui unica caratteristica è di non riuscire a tenere allacciati i pantaloni. ( )
  icaro. | Aug 31, 2017 |
This is a murder mystery story set in modern day Istanbul. The German director of a movie to be filmed there is killed - a live electric hair dryer is dropped into his bathtub. An expat friend of the movie's star decides to look into the death on behalf of her friend. She becomes the narrator for the story -- it's written as a narrative. She thinks she's qualified to investigate because she owns Istanbul's only crime fiction bookstore. There's lots of potential here for a good story. Unfortunately it ultimately disappointed me.

The storytelling style is different from most, but the narrator is not that appealing a person. Sometimes she acts stupid or rude or both. She's an annoying flake. She doesn't seem to know whether she's Turkish or German -- she disparages her fellow Germans too some of which may be deserved.

In the end, the mystery is solved (not by dint of hard work), but by an over the top coincidence. The key to the mystery --- why the director was killed -- is revealed in a chance meeting when the narrator goes to Berlin. It's a convoluted solution that is rushed and not well laid out, and the story abruptly ends. Not a clean ending -- not entirely satisfactory -- but the identity of the killer is revealed.

Maybe I was expecting a story like one of Barbara Nadel's Inspector Ikmen mysteries. This work is not in the same league. ( )
  BrianEWilliams | Feb 7, 2016 |
Life is too short for bad books... Haven't finished it. ( )
  PeterNZ | May 11, 2015 |
A note from the publisher at the end of the novel gratefully acknowledges financial assistance from the Arts Council of England and the Ministry of Culture and Tourism in Turkey.

Without doubt a murder mystery, this novel is also about the interlinking of Turkish and German cultures in particular.

The central amateur detective is German born Turkish citizen Kati Hirschel, owner of a book shop in Istanbul that specialises in crime fiction. She is in her early 40s, has a mother living in Germany, and relishes the opportunity to use her knowledge of real life detection gleaned from her reading.

Kati becomes involved in the murder when her good friend actress Petra comes to Istanbul to make a film about a 19th century Sultan's wife. Petra is an unlikely fit for the main role, and Kati is surprised when she discovers that the director is almost unknown. This director is later murdered, electrocuted when a radiator is thrown into his bath. Petra is immediately a suspect for the murder.

The style of the novel is a little unusual. The younger voice of the narrator made it a surprise when I discovered her chula age. She does a good job of describing life in Istanbul. (She describes herself as an Istanbulli). Tourism is well established between Turkey and Germany, and so it is not unusual to find cultural connections such as film making ( )
  smik | Mar 21, 2014 |
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. ( )
  cathyskye | May 6, 2013 |
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Kati Hirschel, owner of the only mystery bookstore in Istanbul, decides to investigate the death of a film director after he is found murdered in his hotel room and her friend Petra becomes the main suspect.

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