Monday, January 22, 2018

Review of Deep Waters by Barbara Nadel (Headline, 2002)

A young Albanian is found almost decapitated by the banks of the Bosphorus in Istanbul. His family are involved in a blood feud with another immigrant family and it appears he is the latest victim. His death means that it will need to be avenged, continuing on the fis. Inspector Cetin Ikmen’s investigation soon reveals some anomalies, however, such as the victim recently donated his kidney to a young, rich woman. He also discovers that his mother’s half of the family had been involved in a blood feud of their own, which requires the family history to be re-visited. As the tension builds between the feuding Albanian families, Ikmen and his team disrupt their plans and seek to identify the murderer.

Deep Waters is the fourth book in the Inspector Cetin Ikmen series set in Istanbul, Turkey (and the first I've read). This outing has a strong Albanian focus with Ikmen and his team investigating the blood feud between two Albanian families and its latest victim, while also exploring his own Albanian roots and the death of his mother. In addition, one strand of the story focuses on a rich, troubled family that have links to the young victim, and on the relationship between one of Ikmen’s aristocratic colleagues and an Irish/Turkish psychoanalyst. Indeed, as well as charting the murder investigation, the story focuses equally on the domestic lives of Ikmen and his team and the social and cultural aspects of Turkish life. The result is interesting and engaging tale, with a strong sense of cultural context and place. In my view, the storyline relies on too many of convenient relationships between police and non-police characters and there’s no great surprise in the resolution, but nonetheless it’s a captivating read. I’m looking forward to reading some of the other books to follow the characters evolving lives and learn more about the city and its people.

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