Friday, June 19, 2009

Istanbul noir

Mysteries are my favorite genre, but like any genre, they can get a little stale after a while. There's only so many murder weapons, so many double-crosses, so many investigative procedures out there. One good way to freshen things up a little is to have an exciting setting: a different time period, an unusual crime scene or an exotic backdrop.
The short stories in Istanbul Noir are set in one of the world's most intriguing cities. Secular and religious, Eastern and Western, millenia-old and crisply modern, Istanbul is a character in itself. And with the exception of three authors, all of the contributors to this anthology are Turkish. Their familiarity with, and love for, the personality of Istanbul comes across in their stories.
Fortunately, the stories themselves are interesting regardless of their setting (putting a decorative bow on a hack mystery doesn't make it a better read). But these little gems contain all the smoldering emotions, treachery and dark irony that make noir fiction such a tasty read. Some of the stories in here - "An extra body" for instance - remind me of the old Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine, and flow quickly, keeping your attention throughout.
Edited by Mustafa Ziyalan and Amy Spangler, this is a very enjoyable collection of short stories for any mystery fan, or for anyone who likes to get a feel for another place through fiction.

No comments: