by Barbara Nadel
Category: Fiction / Mystery
359 pages; ISBN: 0312316534
Rating: 10/10 (Ratings explained)
Reviewer: Harriet Klausner
St. Martin’s, Dec 2003
British expatriate Robert Cornelius works in Istanbul’s Londra Language School. He just completes his lessons to eight students when he notices his Turkish lover Natalia moving at an incredible pace in the run down Jewish Quarter. Apparently an anti-Semitic crime occurred in Balat as someone murdered but not before abusing elderly Leonid Meyer, a Jew who escaped from Russia during the 1918 Revolution. At the bloody crime scene is a swastika drawn in the victim’s blood. Robert wonders how Natalia is tied to this vicious homicide.
Also involved in more official capacities are Turkish police officers: chain-smoking veteran Inspector Cetin Ikmen and the relatively rookie Sergeant Suleyman. They begin investing the heinous crime while they struggle with the demands of their respective families. Soon they find a link to Robert and Natalia as the former’s grandmother was the victim’s lover at one time and the latter was convicted of assaulting a Jewish lawyer in his hometown of London. Is the murder a case of vengeful passion as the two cops begin to believe or is it a more sinister attack on the Jewish population?
BELSHAZZAR'S DAUGHTER is an insightful laid-back Turkish police procedural. Cozy fans (in spite of the brutality of the killing) and those who delight in foreign who-done-its will be grateful for this fine novel. However, anyone who likes plenty of non-stop action needs to pass as Barbara Nadel furbishes a deep look at family life in Istanbul as much or more than who killed the elderly Jew.
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