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Wednesday 13 July 2016

'On the Bone' by Barbara Nadel

Published by Headline,
14 January 2016.
ISBN 978-1-4722-1379-2

The Turkish background of this book is superb - as one has come to expect from Barbara Nadel.  Inspector Ikmen and his colleague find themselves investigating a bizarre and very troubling case, not of murder - the victim died from a heart attack - but of cannibalism, since an autopsy showed that his stomach contained human flesh.  

The major part of the action is in Istanbul though there is a memorable foray across the Turkish-Syrian border.  Interesting characters abound and there is a helpful cast list at the beginning.  The complex story weaves together the activities of many, from a purveyor of cutting edge European gastronomy to young Turks wanting a relaxed lifestyle who squat in an abandoned building;  from aging  generals, opposed to religious domination to ISIS sympathisers willing to attack all who in any way offend ISIS beliefs.

The investigation of a crime has its own complications and the bubbling controversies of Istanbulis over Islamic religious practices, political beliefs, position of women, corruption and treatment of Syrian refugees ( to name but a few!) enliven the background to the police activity.  Further deaths do occur.  Solutions to the crimes are found but all is not totally satisfactory for the Inspector. 

This is a dark book in which I thought the cannibalism was possibly a metaphor for the turmoil of ideas within Turkey.   If you want to understand Turkish problems this gives you some good insights.
Reviewer: Jennifer S. Palmer
Barbara Nadel has written 17 previous books about Inspector Ikmen, 4 in the Hancock series and 4 in the Hakim and Arnold series.
Barbara Nadel was born in the East End of London. She rained as an actress, and used to work in mental health services. She now writes full time and has been a visitor to Turkey for over twenty years. She received the Crime Writers' Association Silver Dagger for her novel Deadly Web.

Jennifer Palmer Throughout my reading life crime fiction has been a constant interest; I really enjoyed my 15 years as an expatriate in the Far East, the Netherlands & the USA but occasionally the solace of closing my door to the outside world and sitting reading was highly therapeutic. I now lecture to adults on historical topics including Famous Historical Mysteries.

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