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The Bellini Card: A Novel
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The Bellini Card: A Novel (Yashim the Eunuch #3)

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3.69 of 5 stars 3.69  ·  rating details  ·  724 ratings  ·  100 reviews
Investigator Yashim travels to Venice in the latest installment of the Edgar® Award–winning author Jason Goodwin’s captivating seriesJason Goodwin’s first Yashim mystery, The Janissary Tree, brought home the Edgar® Award for Best Novel. His follow-up, The Snake Stone, more than lived up to expectations and was hailed by Marilyn Stasio in The New York Times Book Review as “ ...more
ebook, 304 pages
Published March 2nd 2010 by Sarah Crichton Books (first published December 31st 2007)
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Jason Bean
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
...more
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
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
Nancy
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
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

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
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.
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!
Suzanne Kittrell
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.
Diana Sandberg
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.
Sallyflood
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.
Tony
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
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
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
see previous reviews...though I need to add that this guy and the series grow on me.
Barbara Burt
Pretty good read. Quite enjoyable.
Rachel
As I have stated before in the previous novels, I love this historical fiction/mystery series! But I think the author may have gotten bored with his traditional formula and decided to try something new, which in my opinion didn't work. It may have been the setting (I'm just not a fan of Venice), but the book eventually got better once Yashim came back into the story.

In this volume, it is 1840 and Yashim is called to the palace to see the new sultan, who asks him to recover a painting of Mehmet
...more
Ruth
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
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
...more
Raigo
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
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
Candy Wood
This series just keeps getting better. The shift of scene to Venice allows for plenty of atmospheric detail, as well as insight into the relationship between Venice and Istanbul in the 19th century. Not that the atmosphere and history get at all in the way of the action--there's plenty of that too, much of it featuring Palewski the Polish ambassador, helping Investigator Yashim out by posing as an American art dealer. Of course, Yashim has to follow, and both of them have intense encounters with ...more
Paulo Pires
Yashim, um detective peculiar, eunuco e com um gosto por culinária, recebe a missão de encontrar uma obra do famoso mestre Bellini sobre um antepassado do jovem sultão.
Com a ajuda de seu amigo Palewski entram numa aventura repleta de perigos, onde os interesses financeiros e uma Veneza degradada e sombria são realçados.


A inteligência e sagacidade são as qualidades que acompanham o nosso detective por esta aventura composta de perigosos jogos de interesses e dão a esta personagem autenticidade e
...more
Willowwind
I ended up just devouring Goodwin's series that features Yashim the eunuch as his protagonist. The characters and their relationships are delightful, the settings rich and the plots - well, byzantine. Great entertainment with sufficiently well drawn background to make me want to read Goodwin's actual history of the Ottoman Empire, "Lords of the Horizon". Goodwin clearly loves his subject and in shows in the little details depicting the city of Istanbul: its markets. monuments streets and diverse ...more
Pat
This series is a fascinating look at life in the Ottoman Empire in Istanbul, through the eyes of an investigator who is also a eunuch and loyal supporter of the regime. The main thing that makes this so interesting is that the author is a scholar of the Ottoman Empire, who has written a definitive history of same. So the history and the facts are pretty solid, and the stories are pretty good too. I read this one first, which is actually the third one, because of the art theme. The first two have ...more
Thomas
The third novel in this series takes Yashim from Istanbul to Venice on the trail of a portrait of an earlier Sultan that had been reported as painted by Bellini. His good friend, the Polish Ambassador, Palewski, has been sent ahead to purchase the painting, although no one knows if it, in fact, actually exists.
The plot is tangled and, as befits the setting from Istanbul, is properly Byzantine. Right to the very end, the solution to the mystery is not clear, although I had some suspicion of the p
...more
Ann Jones
Two fabulous foil duels, among other things, in mid 19th century Venice. The plot was too complicated (at least for me) to solve, but a pleasure to watch as it unfolded. Looking for more in this series.
Jay
Good complex mystery but set in Venice instead of Istanbul, features the Polish ambassador for much of the first half instead of Yashim, etc -- kind of like Arthur Conan Doyle writing a mystery with Watson as the main character for most of the novel. It's effective and, of course, Yashim arrives in time to save the day, and it does give you tons of history about the relationship between Venice and Istanbul and you do learn a lot about the Byzantine Empire and the Greeks and the Ottoman Empire, b ...more
Leo Africanus
How can a Yashim murder mystery surpass its predecessors? Base it in 1840s Venice of course! Another enjoyable (but barely believable) adventure with the effendi.
James (JD) Dittes
I became a Goodwin fan with his non-fiction history of the Ottoman Empire, "Lords of the Horizon." In the Bellini card he stretches his passion from Istanbul to Venice with this mystery.

The novel reads as a nice escape. My mind traveled the canals of Venice, and looked into hidden corners. Like wandering the real streets of Venice, it is easy to get lost in this novel: I never understood Pawleski's role in the plot, when the action doesn't really start until Yashim arrives. One other complaint i
...more
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Jason Goodwin 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 encounter the new European neighbours. His account of the journey, On Foot to the Golden Hor ...more
More about Jason Goodwin...
The Janissary Tree (Yashim the Eunuch, #1) The Snake Stone (Yashim the Eunuch, #2) Lords of the Horizons: A History of the Ottoman Empire An Evil Eye (Yashim the Eunuch, #4) The Baklava Club

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