The Baklava Club

The Baklava Club

Book - 2014
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"Inspector Yashim must search for an Polish prince who has been taken hostage by an Italian revolutionary cell"--Provided by publisher.
"Join Investigator Yashim for a final exotic escapade in this rich Edgar Award-winning series In four previous novels, Jason Goodwin's Inspector Yashim, the eunuch detective, has led us through stylish, suspenseful, and colorful mysteries in the Istanbul of the Ottoman Empire. Now, in The Baklava Club, Yashim returns for his final adventure--and his most thrilling yet. Three naive Italian liberals, exiled in Istanbul, have bungled their instructions to kill a Polish prince--instead, they've kidnapped him and absconded to an unused farmhouse. Little do they realize that their revolutionary cell has been penetrated by their enemies, who are passing along false orders under the code name La Piuma, the Feather. It falls to Yashim to unravel all this--he's convinced that the prince is alive and that the Italians have hidden him somewhere. But there are just a few problems: He has no idea who La Piuma is, and he's in no mood to put up a fight--he's fallen in love! As he draws closer to the farmhouse and to the true identity of La Piuma, what Yashim discovers leaves him shocked and in the most dangerous situation of his career. Goodwin has an eye for detail like no other, and in The Baklava Club he conjures Istanbul in all its glorious exoticism. This is a breathtaking, extraordinary conclusion to one of the most beloved series in mystery fiction, and its ending will leave you truly astonished"--Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York : Sarah Crichton Books/Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2014
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780374294373
0374294372
Characteristics: 272 pages ; 24 cm

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Eosos
Oct 23, 2014

I am sad to know that this is the last book in this series. I have thoroughly enjoyed joining Yashim on his adventures and while I think every one of these stories was over the top, at the same time it rather fit with the decaying and dying Ottoman Empire setting.

g
gvenkatesh
Oct 04, 2014

I had high expectations for this novel given the acclaim for the earlier novels (which I have not read) in this series as well as the locale and time period.

Unfortunately, this book appears to have been written using only the author's left brain (if I may indulge in that mythical separation).

As a left brain activity, the author is very descriptive of the times and the events with an almost Umberto Eco like penchant for detailing pedantic knowledge. So much so that the events of the book don't even start until halfway into it. The author also has a writing style that emphasizes motion all the time. Nothing is ever still in the novel even if it is the movement of a lizard or birds. This creates a mental image of a very real and live stage for the novel. Other than that the novel is deeply flawed and disappointing.

The author assembles a set of international characters in late 19th century - Polish, Turk, Italian, Danish, Russian, Irish, ... - who fail to rise above the cliches of their respective countries while being able to somehow converse with each other perfectly with no language issues.

The missing right brain results in almost no sense of emotional or empathetic connection between characters. Even the burgeoning love between the protagonist and a female character feels like a cartoonish caricature with their amorous activities reduced to a description of motion as may have been found in an early 20th century amateur smut novel (while one is left scratching the head trying to reconcile the protagonist's physical deformity with the description of the act). The entire novel feels emotionally dead despite the words and narrative which is meant to suggest otherwise. No right brain involved in writing the book. The plot itself culminates in scenes and dialog that resemble a badly made Hollywood movie.

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