You’ll not learn from me whether Jason Goodwin followed through on his stated intention of making THE BAKLAVA CLUB (Sarah Crichton/Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $26) the final book in his series set in Istanbul during the last days of the Ottoman Empire. But it can certainly be said that should the author continue the series, which features a charismatic eunuch named Yashim as resident sleuth, it won’t be the same. Actually, life hasn’t been the same at Topkapi Palace since the young sultan moved his court to Besiktas and his mother, Yashim’s patron, was left in the deserted harem. Goodwin has wisely shifted focus from the moribund palace to the city streets, teeming with visitors from all over the world, including revolutionaries like the three Italian nationalists who set the incendiary plot in motion. With all the noisy guns and rockets going off, some of us may yearn for the good old harem days when poison, knives and silk garrotes were in style.
I just finished reading The Baklava Club, which I thoroughly enjoyed. But I must ask a question of Jason Goodwin (or even of other readers); Does anyone else notice the similarity of the Russian girl’s name (Natasha Borisov) to our favorite evil characters from the Rocky & Bullwinkle Cartoons? Could this really be just a coincidence?