Sunday, 13 July 2008

Pashazade by Jon Courtney Grimwood

If you think that murder mysteries need vicars or tortuous plots, where the last chapter reveals all then put the kettle and I’ll finish before you come back. But if you are open to Chandler film-noir stories please stay as this review is for you.

The context is an alternative future where the 1st world war ended early so the Ottoman Empire is modernised rather then dismembered. Aristocrats still have political and social power within a liberal monarchy. Think of Jordan being the norm throughout the Middle East and North Africa.

This is by way of back-story as real focus is the arrival from an American Jail, of Asr
ef Bey in El Iskandryia(Alexandria in our timeline) summoned by his Aunt who is a mover and shaker in the local politics to marry a cousin he has never met. His refusal and the death of his Aunt soon have him fighting for his life in a world he struggles to understand. Intertwined with this story are flashbacks to why he is confused about his past and future.

The story is plot not character driven but the setting makes for freshness to a familiar story. Given my interest in history and politics, I found it difficult to see why this society has more advanced technology then our timeline but that’s a Geek thing.

Anyway, the kettle is boiled and the tea-tray is on the way so let's go before we have to find out what Professor Plum did in the Library. And if you
have not read it, go and do it now!

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