The fifth – and final? – Yashim adventure is now out in Estonia (where we held the premiere in Tallinn a week ago) – and in the English-speaking world, too.
I am delighted with this charming review from Huon Mallalieu in Country Life:
I have yet to visit Istanbul, but when I do it will be after reading or re-reading Jason’s Goodwin’s five Yashim books as well as his Ottoman history. He has a great gift for conjuring up the spirit of place, smells and sounds as well as sights, and Yashim, his immensely sympathetic sleuth in mid 19th century Istanbul is a thoroughly agreeable guide. As a eunuch (impotent, but not incapable, so to speak) Yashim is able to take us into harems as well as markets and mosques. His culinary skills are educational and moreish – it is good to learn that a Yashim cookery book is planned.
Naturally Yashim is given a sidekick, but Count Palewski, ambassador for the vanished Kingdom of Poland, is no mere foil against which the hero may shine; he has his own schemes and strengths. The Baklava Club serves up the expected banquet of convoluted plots, many, but not all, deriving from the post-1815 division of Europe between autocratic reaction and liberal revolution. Matters are further complicated for both Yashim and Palewski by the involvement of beautiful young foreign women, not to mention the love of books and manuscripts.
A little while ago Mr Goodwin was making Conan Doyle-like noises about killing off his creation. The reaction of his readers at least postponed that sad day. I hope that it is no spoiler to say that the end is not necessarily yet.