A NOBLE KILLING
Written by Barbara Nadel
Review written by Gwen Moffat
Gwen Moffat lives in Cumbria. Her novels are set in remote communities ranging from the Hebrides to the American West. The crimes fit their environment, swelling that dreadful record of sin in the smiling countryside cited by Sherlock Holmes. The style echoes this: rustic charm masking horror.
Released: 20th January 2011
Istanbul, with new liberals on one hand and Islamic fundamentalists on the other is a hotbed of passion, intrigue and danger. A young girl has petrol poured over her and ignited.
Inspector Celin Ikmen suspects an honour killing and quickly uncovers a craze new to young Turks, "sexting"; suggestive texts and images transmitted by mobile phones. Obvious suspects are the family but then the possibility arises of a contract killing. It transpires that after similar suspicious deaths the girls' families have become suddenly impoverished, suggesting a killer's fee.
To Ikmen "honour" killing in the name of religion is bad enough but contracting out is obscene, bearing no relationship to religion, enthnicity or honour. Since professionals may be involved attention focusses on a noted enforcer who is moving into Ikmen's manor with a view to establish protection rackets.
Running parallel with the case of the burning girl is that of Inspector Suleyman. Already in trouble with relatives of his wild gypsy mistress he has to deal with a homosexual murder. The victim is a flamboyant gay piano teacher, promiscuous as they come: lusting after his pupils and his current lover while cruising for street boys. Incidentally, two of his pupils have a volatile relationship themselves, one that, reminiscent of an old cause celebre, is a significant clue in the present case.
Istanbul: its sophisticated city dwellers and economic immigrants, comes over well. The style is simple but curiously appropriate to a culture poised between West and East: secular but having deep roots in Islam, the dichtomy spawning a dark and murderous twist.