Tuesday, July 7, 2015
THE OTTOMAN CAGE
The Ottoman Cage is Barbara Nadel’s second Inspector Ikmen mystery. I did not read the first book in the series, Belshazzar’s Daughter. My husband is a mystery aficionado (he did read Belshazzar’s Daughter) who had started The Ottoman Cage shortly before a lengthy hospital stay. Because he was so ill, I began reading the book aloud to him – and, because I enjoyed the book so much, I ended up reading the entire book.
Inspector Cetin Ikmen is a homicide detective in Istanbul. Although Ikmen is a Turk, his “oldest and best friend” is Armenian, criminal pathologist Arto Sarkissian.
In The Ottoman Cage, a young man is found dead in part of a house that had been converted into a small set of rooms in an upscale part of Istanbul. Although there were clear signs that the man had been a drug user – and many believed that both the tenant and the dead man were Armenian – there was very little evidence for the police to follow. Nadel masterfully details how Inspector Ikmen follows the meager information known to the police and solves the murder.
I do not know a great deal about Turkey, but I have always been impressed by the fact that when Ataturk founded the new Turkey, he required that it be a secular state. So, I was surprised to read how divisive the culture seems to be: the Muslims versus the others; the old Ottoman Turks versus the minority Armenians; etc.
The Ottoman Cage is well written. Although the plot is not especially complex, Nadel has interesting, well-developed characters and includes a great deal of information and backstory about Turkey and Istanbul.
I will definitely be backtracking to Belshazzar’s Daughter, and I look forward to working my way through Nadel’s extensive Inspector Ikmen series.