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The Bellini Card (Yashim the Eunuch #3)

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3.69  ·  Rating Details ·  1,054 Ratings  ·  139 Reviews
ISTANBUL, 1840: the young sultan Abdiilmecid believes that Gentile Bellini's vanished masterpiece, a portrait of Mehmet the Conqueror, may have resurfaced in Venice. But it's not Yashim, our eunuch detective, who takes a ship across the Mediterranean. Instead, it's his Polish ambassador friend, Palewski, disguised as an American art dealer.

What begins as a simple inquiry s
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Hardcover, 306 pages
Published July 3rd 2008 by Faber & Faber (first published December 31st 2007)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Jason Bean
Sep 04, 2011 Jason Bean rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
You'd think splitting a narrative between two exotic locals (1840's Venice and Istanbul) would mark a change with a series' tone. 'The Bellini Card' not only reads faster than the previous 'Janissary Tree' and 'Snake Stone', author Jason Goodwin ratchets up the intrigue and excitement in a story that centers around a lost Bellini painting.

Polish Ambassador Palewski, a side-character in this series gets equal spotlight with Yashim and proves to be just as engaging a protagonist, if a bit ineffect
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Rob Kitchin
The strengths of The Bellini Card are the sense of place, characterisation, and historical detail. Goodwin places the reader in both Istanbul and Venice -- the landscape and architecture, the sights, sounds and smells, and the social strata and living conditions. The descriptions are wonderfully evocative and come to life in one’s mind’s eye. This is aided by a melting pot of nicely drawn characters -- a mix of fading aristocrats, bureaucrats, servants and criminals -- and their interactions con ...more
Heather
Apr 19, 2015 Heather rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
I listened to this book on audiobook. I always clarify that because I think it significantly affects how you enjoy a book. I like the actor for the most part, but eventually the accents grated on me. I believe it was a bit harder to follow in listening rather than reading, as I'm not an auditory learner and it helps me keep track of the characters to visually see their names. Several characters have similar names, so this was a bit of a struggle.

Overall though it was a great mystery, truly only
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Nancy
Mar 19, 2009 Nancy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries
The Bellini Card is a charming literary get-away to the Istanbul court of the 1840's and the struggling city of Venice under Hapsburg domination. The principal characters are wonderful and the writing successfully evokes the manners and politics of the era. The author deftly weaves the search for a lost masterwork (a Bellini painting) into the novel and that creates the mystery and tension which makes it fun for folks who like more than just an historical novel.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book.
Evelyn
Nov 09, 2009 Evelyn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historical, mystery
When the new sultan of Istanbul voices a desire to own a rare painting of Mehmet the Conqueror by Bellini, Investigator Yashim enlists his friend Stanislaw Palewski, the Polish Ambassador, to travel to Venice to locate the painting while posing as a rich American named Signor Brett.
Third historical to feature the eunuch Yashim as an investigator, but can stand alone.

Intellectual rather than fast-paced. Complexly plotted with intriguing chracters. Great atmosphere of the time period.
Vivienne
Jan 01, 2009 Vivienne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

I found this a cracking good, intelligent mystery with plenty of surprises along the way.

The book is very rich in its descriptions and Goodwin recreates the faded splendour of 19th century Venice with the same skill he has applied to Istanbul in all three novels. I appreciated the author's end note about the Bellini portrait, which does exist, and how it came into the possession of Britain's National Gallery. A delightful series of historical mysteries that I hope will continue.
Steve
Sep 11, 2009 Steve rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Jason Goodwin has become one of my favorite authors. In this novel Yashim lalla (eunuch)sends his friend the Polish ambassador to Venice to find a portrait of the Sultan's ancestor Memhet by Bellini. Goodwin's up to par with intrigue, romance, mystery, and more local color than most authors. Plot turns and twists that will leave your head spinning. I am ready for his next book.
Suzanne Kittrell
Jul 22, 2009 Suzanne Kittrell rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Just one word sums up this book for me. Byzantine. The plot, the characters and the settings. This book is about a search for a painting by an enuch in the 1840s. A fairly good read once I put on by history cap and tried to remember what was going on in the world at that time and during the Bellini's time.
Cynthia
Not as good as The Snake Stone. The writing and descriptions are so good and the characters are so likeable that I kept reading and enjoying all the way to the end. But the plot is murky and illogical and it jumps around a lot, often even midstream in chapters that are only 1 or 2 pages long. But it's STILL a fun read!
Sallyflood
Mar 16, 2009 Sallyflood rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A great inside look at the court of the Ottoman Empire, 1840. Yashim is a enuch in the court and a detective at heart. He and his friend the Polish ambassador are in Venice looking for a rare painting by Bellini. So far the only siting is a bloated body in the main canal.
Diana Sandberg
Jan 29, 2010 Diana Sandberg rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have enjoyed all of this series. I like Yashim and I liked the expanded role of the Polish ambassador in this one. Also like the Venice setting. I did find the plot machinations got away from me a bit for a while there; I didn't quite follow what was going on, but eventually I caught up.
Tony
Jul 17, 2009 Tony rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
another great installment in the Yashim series, this one taking us from Istanbul to Venice and back. Yashim's friend Palewski plays a more active role, and Goodwin continues the delightfully descriptive cooking classes!
Guy
Feb 15, 2010 Guy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I found this book really delightful. In contrast to the last one (The Snake Stone), this one had a much more comprehensible plot, and the descriptions, as always, were vivid and the settings entrancing.
Linda
Jun 11, 2009 Linda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery-crime, travel
I always have a hard time following the denouement of Goodwin's novels. But the settings are fascinating and every book has several very good recipes that I love trying out for myself.
Peter
Jul 30, 2009 Peter rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
see previous reviews...though I need to add that this guy and the series grow on me.
Barbara Burt
Pretty good read. Quite enjoyable.
David Fox
Jan 25, 2017 David Fox rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My favorite book in the series so far. The Bellini Card is masterpiece from the set up to the payoff. Venice is decrepit, poor and twisted; a perfect setting for a quest for the truth. Goodwin plots the city perfectly, and as Palewski sets off to search for the missing Bellini painting of the first Sultan Emperor of Istanbul, we are slowly introduced to pieces of a much bigger puzzle. Yashim is at home in Istanbul investigating his own hunches. Together the story and mystery seem spread so thin, ...more
Sylvia Dugan
Jan 19, 2017 Sylvia Dugan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Unlike the other books in this series which are set in Istanbul, this story centers on events in Venice where Yashim has asked his friend Palewski, the Polish ambassador to Turkey who is out of work since his country was destroyed, to go in search of a lost Bellini painting of Mehmet the Conqueror for the new Sultan. Many intriguing historic details of Venice under rule by the Austrians in 1840.

The story picks up when Yashim arrives to aid his friend search for the painting and not get arrested
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Maurice
Describes the important relationship between Istanbul and Venice.
Kiarup
Jan 09, 2017 Kiarup rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Ho trovato bella l'ambientazione tra venezia (soprattutto) e Istanbul, ma ho trovato il libro nel suo complesso piuttosto deludente e molto molto molto confusionario. Non sono nemmeno sicura di aver chiara la dinamica dei fatti e in un giallo la cosa è particolarmente frustrante.
Krishna
Dec 03, 2016 Krishna rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Yashim the crime-fighting eunuch battles Tatar assassins and seduces Venetian countesses as he pursues an elusive portrait of Sultan Mehmet, the Ottoman conqueror of Constantinople, by Venetian artist Gentile Bellini. Unable to travel himself to Venice where the portrait was last reported to be, he sends his good but somewhat klutzy friend, Ambassador Palewski, who blunders around Venice in disguise as the American art collector Mr. Brett. The action moves fast and there are some unexpected twis ...more
Barbara
I wanted to give this book 3.5 . I think the author has done a brilliant job in the descriptive writing, the background detail (and, especially, the food) - but it seems to me that he tries a bit too hard on that - for example, there are probably not many of his audience who can understand the step-by-step description of the fencing, or who can visualise the complex knot pattern which the plot seems to rely on; and the plotting itself seems a bit obscure and really not terribly gripping. The cha ...more
Madhulika Liddle
In Istanbul, 1840, the new, callow young Sultan Abdulmecid comes to know that a rare painting—of the medieval Ottoman Sultan Mehmet II, painted by the Venetian artist Gentile Bellini 350 years earlier—may be available for sale in Venice. He sends his vizier, Resid Pasha, to the canny, clever Yashim the Eunuch for help. Abdulmecid wants Yashim to go to Venice to track down the painting and buy it. Resid, however, conveys to Yashim his own desire: that Yashim stay in Istanbul, well out of this aff ...more
Raigo
Nov 10, 2012 Raigo rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
Mulle on Goodwini Yashimi-lood esimesest raamatust peale (mida ma kaasa soovitusel küll peale Istanbuli käiku päris poolkogemata lugema asusin) meeldinud. Nutikas eunuhh oma poolakast sõbraga ajaloolises Istanbulis seiklemas ja aeg-ajalt süüa tegemas on üks uuema krimikirjanduse lahedamaid tegijaid. See raamat on aga tähelepanuväärne kahe asja pärast. Esiteks on lisaks Istanbulile siin juttu ka Veneetsiast - mõlemad linnad on mulle jätnud sügava mulje ja lugedes sündmustest, tean ma vähemalt ena ...more
Armida
Sep 17, 2016 Armida rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Details make the story and in this book there are many interesting details but however I haven't read too many details related to the story. Goodwin is more focused in cultural details. Seems like Goodwin wants to create a relation like he is making a conversation with readers when he describes everything in very precise way about what he happened last month and this is what I expect from authors. it looks like he is in front of you and describe everything and you are waiting to know what is the ...more
Ruth
Jul 23, 2011 Ruth rated it liked it
Published in 2008, this is another in the series featuring Yashim, the eunuch and sleuth. He first appeared in "The Jannisary Tree". This is a good read with some great background details and historical anomalies (ie the Polish ambassador). The author studied Byzantine history at Cambridge University and his enthusiasm for this period of history shines through the book. Good plot and I found it to be a fairly quick read. A word of warning though - don't read this book when hungry as food and eat ...more
Rusty
Sep 24, 2012 Rusty rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
It is 1840 and the new Ottoman Empire Sultan Abdulmecid demands Yashim's service on occasion. This time he is asked to locate a Bellini portrait of Mehmet the Conqueror. It is believed that it was painted while Bellini was at the Conqueror's court for two years. And, it may be found in Venice.

Resid Pasha directs Yashim to keep travel expenses low, including the purchase price so Yashim asks his Polish ambassador friend, Palewski, to pose as an American and travel to Venice to search for the por
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Sherrill Watson
A knowledgeable Mr. Goodwin studying Byzantine history and writing "A History of the Ottoman Empire" has colored this book to the point of almost scribbling in it.

Yashim, a eunuch, sends Palewski to Venice to purchase a painting of Mehmet the conqueror, by Gentile Bellini, surreptitiously, as representations of people are forbidden by the Koran. Palewski is befriended by Brunelli, a policeman, who sees thru his American cover. There is Antonio, who pretends to have the Bellini, Maria Contarini,
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Bibliophile
The Bellini Card is the fourth in Jason Goodwin's series of detective novels set in nineteenth-century Istanbul and "starring" the eunuch, Yashim, and his intrepid friend, Pawlewski, ambassador to the Sublime Porte from the no-longer-extant Kingdom of Poland. The Bellini Card finds our duo in pursuit of a portrait of the great Ottoman Sultan, Mehmet the Conqueror, and takes them out of the City to the murky canals of Venice, home of Giovanni Bellini, the painter whose handiwork they seek. Meanwh ...more
Lianne
While other mysteries featuring Yashim the eunuch detective are set in Istnabul, this title is set in Venice. Palewski, the Polish ambassador becomes a proxy for Yashim who has been charged with finding a portrait of Sultan Mehmet the Conquerer painted by the Italian Bellini. The current sultan has heard of this portrait and would like to own it once again. The plot is based on a true story about a real painting that now hangs in the National Gallery in London. Palewski impersonates an American ...more
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Jason Goodwin's latest book is YASHIM COOKS ISTANBUL: Culinary Adventures in the Ottoman Kitchen.
He studied Byzantine history at Cambridge University - and returned to an old obsession to write The Gunpowder Gardens or, A Time For Tea: Travels in China and India in Search of Tea, which was shortlisted for the Thomas Cook Award. When the Berlin Wall fell, he walked from Poland to Istanbul to encoun
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More about Jason Goodwin...

Other Books in the Series

Yashim the Eunuch (5 books)
  • The Janissary Tree (Yashim the Eunuch, #1)
  • The Snake Stone (Yashim the Eunuch, #2)
  • An Evil Eye (Yashim the Eunuch, #4)
  • The Baklava Club

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“Lies beget lies,” he said. “Until, one day, someone needs the truth.” Palewski” 1 likes
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