You wonder if the bibliomaniac mindset, tumbling with shards of inspiration from writers celebrated and obscure, is a cover for Artvin’s disingenuous weaving of fiction into his CV. Just revel in the uncertainties as the skeletons in the Ottoman cupboards rattle their bones and create havoc in this acutely observed, mystery thriller.
My father was a burly man with the face of an innocent. When he climbed the stairs, he bent down low, a skill I felt sure he thought of as unique to himself. He worshipped anything Ottoman. On sighting a sultan's mosque, fountain or even a monumental tree, he would walk over to caress it. He performed the Eid prayers at Nusretiye Mosque, which was built by Mahmut II, and always paid a visit to the shrine afterwards. The first time he took me there, I counted eighteen coffins. Lying side by side in its burial section were the tombs of princes, grand viziers, ministers, commanders, high-level bureaucrats, academicians, authors and poets. I imagined them waiting until eternity to appear before the sultan and walked on tiptoe so as not to disturb them.