An Evil Eye
Sarah Crichton Books (FSG), Mar 29 2011, $26.00
In 1839 the long reign of Sultan Mahmut II ends with his death. Abdulmecid now sits on the Osman Throne of the shrunken Ottoman Empire as his predecessor lost the Crimea, Greece and Egypt. The latter hurts the most as some upstart Mehmet Ali Pasha took the North African country from the Turks due in part to the Admiral of the fleet Fevzi Ahmet defecting.
Yashim the eunuch is assigned to investigate why a hero turned traitor. The case is much harder than his previous inquiries as those were potentially lethal while this case looks into the activity of Yashmin’s mentor and teacher, a vicious man willing to die for the late Sultan. As he begins his search for motives, women under the Sultan’s protection begin to die from a strange illness. The intrepid sleuth wonders whether the deaths of females under the Sultan’s protection are tied to the defection of the most loyal supporter of the Sultan.
The latest Yashim historical mystery (see The Bellini Card, The Janissary tree and The Snake Stone) is a great tale that looks deep into the corrupt rot at the core of the Ottoman Empire. Yashmin is terrific whether he is making inquiries or just making dinner as he holds the strong why he done it story line focused. Fans of the series will relish this terrific entry in which Jason Goodwin shines a deep cause and effect spotlight on what the corruption at the highest levels is doing to a crumbling giant within a powerful mystery.