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Belshazzar's Daughter: A Novel of Istanbul (Inspector Ikmen #1)

3.46 of 5 stars 3.46  ·  rating details  ·  546 ratings  ·  74 reviews
When a brutal murder shocks Istanbul's rundown Jewish quarter, the Turkish police force unleashes their best weapon - the chain-smoking, brandy-swilling Inspector Cetin Ikmen, husband to a strict Muslim woman (who disapproves of his drinking) and loving father of eight (with another on the way). With such a colorful personality and unrivaled investigative powers, Ikmen wil ...more
Hardcover, 297 pages
Published February 21st 2004 by Minotaur Books (first published January 1st 1999)
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Okay, folks, I am a former librarian. I read books, I lend books, I donate books to the local library, I keep books, etc. Not many people feel about books as I do. That said, now I must confess I threw this book in the garbage after reading it. I knew at that moment that I would not, could not suggest it to anyone I know, and neither would I wish it on anyone at the local library. When someone throws Czar Nicholas and his family into the story, late in the story, with the old fairy tale of a sur ...more
Jeffrey Keeten
I was pleasantly surprised by this book. I was afraid it would be a bit of a cozy. Nadel does not shy away from descriptions of graphic violence and gratuitous sex, a much grittier book than expected. If you are looking for a book that will get you excited about vacationing in Turkey this would not be the best choice. Nadel explores the seedier side of Istanbul and introduces the world to yet another great detective Inspector Cetin Ikmen. The Inspector dabbles in mysticism, drinks too much, has ...more
This story is based in Istanbul, and follows in the footsteps of Inspector Cetin Ikmen and his Sergeant Mehmet Suleyman as they try to solve the mystery of an old Jewish man who has been murdered in a most horrific way. The twists and turns include interviewing an old Russian woman who never seems to leave her bed, and a fairly dramatic conclusion.

OK, but is the book any good? When I was about two-thirds of the way through, I would have said "No". The book starts off well, and brings the reader
Belshazzar's Daughter is the first book in a series featuring inspector Cetin Ikmen of the Istanbul Police force, and the first novel written by Barbara Nadel. In this case, Ikmen has to deal with the nasty murder of an old man in what appears to be an anti-Semitic crime. Things soon become much more complicated, as details of a long-ago crime muddy the water.

First of all, what to like about this story - well, the characterizations of Ikmen, his family and his work colleagues are very well drawn
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I keep books on hand to reward myself for doing things I must do and don't want to do. This was one such book. I had started with the second in the series, and now I wanted to read the first book, Belshazzar's Daughter. Within the first pages, oh man, she hooked me.

Inspector Ikmen and his ever-pregnant wife Fatima, who he adores, Suleyman, his right hand man, Cohen, the Jewish Turkish playboy . . . Nadel weaves her story around their lives and characters as much as about the mysteries they are
I was disappointed. This book was recommended by a bookseller in Istanbul with whom I had had a nice chat (in English). I really trusted his judgment. And apparently the books by this writer are very popular with English-speaking readers of Istanbul. I like the detectives, but few of the other characters. I thought the plot was predictable — and dragging in one of the Great Mysteries of the 20th century seemed totally manipulative. (I should have been wary of the endorsement "The Donna Leon of I ...more
Mike Bull
The characters in this murder mystery novel set in Istanbul are unforgettable. From inspector ikmen to the family he investigates, the Englishman, his assistant detective, his wife and father--everyone in this book is drawn so well you get pulled right into it.

Although it's a murder mystery this novel has something for everyone in it. Lust, love, brutality, shame, reticence, family relationships, hidden motives and dark histories. It's coarse in places but at the same time it's human throughout.
This book was just OK. I figured out the outlandish ending about half-way through, and honestly found it a bit hokey. It also didn't really make me feel like I know anything more about Istanbul than when I started.
Belshazzar's Daughter by Barbara Nadel. This is the first book I've read by this author, and I enjoyed it. It is set not too far in the past but refers to the period of the Russian Revolution and things that happened afterwards. Also much through the eyes of an English ex-pat with a bit of past and having trouble keeping it all together. The main character is a very interesting and quite likable Turkish police head of investigations and much of his family in this city. All told, it's a very good ...more
The unorthodox Inspector Çetin Ikmen of the Istanbul police force investigates a gruesome murder in the city’s Jewish quarter. That, taken alone, sounds like an unusual and interesting premise, in theory. In practice, things rarely work out so well.

The plot of Belshazzar’s Daughter is, by itself (appropriately) Byzantine in its complexity and ruthlessly draws the reader along. But the characters are, with the exceptions of the jolly Armenian Medical Examiner and Ikmen’s grumpy father, all either
Reetta Saine
Viimeinkin yksi Suuri Suosikkini, Barbara Nadel, on päässyt kotimaisten kustantamojen julkaisuohjelmaan - iso peukku laadukkaalle Moreenille!

Yli kymmenen dekkarin sarjan aloittava Belsassarin tytär tekee hyvää työtä esitellessään ketjupolttavan brandynlitkijän, komisario Ikmenin ja muut sarjan olennaiset henkilöt. Avioliitto hurskaan muslimin kanssa, lähemmäs kymmenen lasta ja siivon alaisen Suleimanin kouluttaminen tavoille luovat rikkaan taustan, johon kunkin kirjan rikos sijoitetaan. Nadelin
Having recently fallen in love with Istanbul, I was very excited to read this book. Especially since murder mysteries are my favourite type of genre.

Police Inspector Aetin Ikmen, alcoholic, chain-smoking, but somehow endearing, looks into the brutal murder and disfigurement of an aged Jewish immigrant that appears to have neo-Nazi implications. With his youthful colleague Mehmet Suleyman in tow, Ikmen leads us through the back alleys, brothels and barrooms of the city's roughest neighborhoods in
Cheryl A
Trying to broaden my mystery reading horizons, I picked up this novel set in modern Turkey, featuring Inspector Cetin Ikmen, husband and father of eight, sole supporter of his aged father. My initial thoughts were that the Inspector would be a well grounded, caring man with a passion for truth and justice.

I was right and wrong at the same time.

Ikmen is a chain-smoking, brandy toting, apolitical, irreligious, slightly egotistical man who is not without redeeming characteristics. His Sergeant, Meh
I am torn. Thumbs down? Thumbs up?

Sordid, steamy, tawdry . . . in the end, an over the top, operatic finale. Some pretty kinky sex that seems to explain one of the main actor's twisted psyche, but in the end seems gratuitous to this reader. Swastikas. Pedophilia. Incest. Unattractive characters who are very hard to like.

As well, an off-putting introduction to Detective Ikmen--a Turkish cop who has to swill brandy at the scene of the crime, or I guess become too faint of heart to proceed with h
A disappointing read.
Turkey, and Istanbul in particular, has such a rich history that I felt it was a cop-out to base the story (esp. given that it's the first book in the series) on "foreign" characters - that is, not the usual Istanbullu residents. Instead of Turks, or other ethnic peoples "native" to the former Ottoman empire, the plot features Russian émigrés, British language instructors, former Bolsheviks and Nazis. Even the supposedly "local" Jewish characters' names in the novel are not
#1 Cetin Ikmen mystery set in modern-day Istanbul, Turkey. Inspector Ikmen is unlike any other sleuth I've come across so far in some ways--(mostly) happily married, father of eight, dedicated to his work. And yet in other ways, he resembles favored inspectors everywhere--a bit rebellious and unconventional in his methods, maneuvering around his mostly incompetent or politically motivated bosses, and able to ferret out the subtle clues to find justice for the murdered.

Chain-smoking, brandy-drin
Candy Wood
The exotic setting of this murder mystery is promising: Istanbul, with not only a hard-drinking, chain-smoking detective inspector who happens to be the father of nine children by the same wife but also a young, handsome sergeant, trying to evade his mother's plans for his marriage. The gruesome murder might be a hate crime against Jews, and the suspects include an Englishman who teaches in a language school, a wealthy German businessman who was a Nazi sympathizer, and a very strange family whos ...more
No, sir, I didn't like it. I took this out of the library and by about 50 pages in I was sure I'd tried to read it before. I decided to finish it this time because I didn't want to repeat the cycle a second time. May as well finish it. Flat, cliched characters. No sense of place. Stupid premise involving the possible survival of a Romanov brat. (When are we gonna shelve that?) Irritating woman with a non-consensual gun kink. Spineless, misogynistic character whose backstory comes way to late to ...more
Susan Morrison
Barbara Nadel's books featuring Inspector Ikman of the Istanbul police are all a delight to read. Ikman is Turkey's version of Colombo and he always solves his crime helped by his able and interesting team. The reader learns much about Turkey and the diverse cultural mix.
Elizabeth Housewright
Since I read this for a book group I read it twice (otherwise I go so fast I tend to miss the details.) Would have given it 3 stars the first time, but liked it better upon re-reading. Beautifully written, love the characters of Inspector Ikmen and his constable Suleyman, just didn't care much for the other people, which was the way it was supposed to be. Also liked the fact that in the end you knew more than Ikmen, since you'd been hearing from the other characters, but still he was able to bri ...more

The cover art's beautiful, and I liked the idea of "visiting" the exotic Istanbul setting. It turns out, though, that Istanbul's back alleys are too gritty to make a nice vacation even filtered through the pages of a mystery novel. The graphic violence near the beginning turned me off, but was expected in this kind of book, so I kept reading--but there's no real break in the oppressive environment of a seedy, unpleasant place where most people are exploiting everyone else around them for one
I love Barbara Nadel's atmospheric mystery novels set in Istanbul. Her detective is the hard-working, hard drinking, chain smoking Inspector Cetin Ikman - his sidekick is the handsome and aristocratic Mehmet Suleyman. Each of her novels revolves around an aspect of the life and culture in Istanbul - in this case, Istanbul's uneasy relationships with Russian. A body found in the poor district of Balat leads the detectives to an artistocratic Russian family, whose matriarch believes herself to be ...more
Margaret Gi
Nov 28, 2014 Margaret Gi marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
Barbara Nadel is interviewed in documentary on Agatha Christie hosted by David Suchet broadcast on PBS in November 2014. The link is that Nadel writes about many of the countries that Christie also visited and wrote about.
I love this author. Having just toured Turkey, the setting and culture in Istanbul is interesting. I will read more of Nadel.
Turkish inspector Cetin Ikmen is investigating the brutal murder of Leonid Meyer, an old man living in the decrepid, poor Jewish section of Istanbul, Turkey. His investigation leads him to a wide variety of expatriates; a love lorne British school teacher, a textile manufacturer who was possibly a Naxi symphathizer, and an eccentric Russian family presided over by a frail, 90-year-old woman who may hold secrets of Meyer's past fighting with the Bolsheviks. With an intriguing plot and a colorful ...more
The first, and so far the weakest of the Inspector Ikemen series (that I have read), it nevertheless opens the series to a great cast of characters. The death of an alcoholic Jew unravels a mystery that dates back to the Russian revolution, in the grandest and most predictable way possible. Even so, this is an enjoyable read, and kicks of the continuing thread of characters that connects this wonderful series together. Barbara Nadel has crafted a unique storyline that is always enjoyable to read ...more
I really wanted to like this book, but I just couldn't get into it. It's set in Turkey, a place I'm fascinated by. I may try again later, and see if it was just my mood.
Apparently, it was just my mood, because I liked this much better on a second try. Cetin Ikmen is an interesting protagonist. Few other characters are sympathetic, but they are mostly well-drawn. The plot moved along and was interesting. While Nadel paints a picture of Turkey that I hope never to encounter, it made for intere
Jessica Howard
The blurb on this book describes Nadel as the "Donna Leon of Istanbul", which is why I picked it up. I don't think this is quite true though--Ikmen is a much more frustrated detective than Leon's Brunetti, and the book has a much darker feel, as well as a completely preposterous ending. I much prefer Donna Leon's books with their realistic portrayal of Italy's corrupt bureaucracy to Nadel's depiction of Istanbul as not only corrupt and superstitious, but also just plain bizarre.
Intriguing murder mystery story situated in Istanbul. Very different. The police inspector sounded like Columbo. He is a small man who drinks, smokes to extreme, but still is so intelligent and educated that his thought processes are not affected. Very exotic, odd, eccentric characters, OLD secrets, real feel for streets of Istanbul. The title is a reference to a daughter of the Tsar.

This character, Ikmen, is similar to other foreign cops such as Zen and Brunetti.
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Barbara Nadel is an English crime-writer. Many of her books are set in Turkey. Born in the East End of London, Barbara Nadel trained as an actress before becoming a writer. Now writing full-time, she has previously worked as a public relations officer for the National Schizophrenia Fellowship's Good Companion Service and as a mental health advocate for the mentally disordered in a psychiatric hosp ...more
More about Barbara Nadel...

Other Books in the Series

Inspector Ikmen (1 - 10 of 16 books)
  • Ottoman Cage (Cetin Ikmen, #2)
  • Arabesk (Cetin Ikmen, #3)
  • Deep Waters (Cetin Ikmen, #4)
  • Harem (Cetin Ikmen, #5)
  • Petrified (Cetin Ikmen, #6)
  • Deadly Web (Cetin Ikmen, #7)
  • Dance with Death (Cetin Ikmen, #8)
  • A Passion for Killing (Cetin Ikmen, #9)
  • Pretty Dead Things (Cetin Ikmen, #10)
  • River of the Dead (Cetin Ikmen, #11)
Arabesk (Cetin Ikmen, #3) Harem (Cetin Ikmen, #5) Ottoman Cage (Cetin Ikmen, #2) Deep Waters (Cetin Ikmen, #4) Dance with Death (Cetin Ikmen, #8)

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