Spuddie's Reviews > The Snake Stone

The Snake Stone by Jason Goodwin
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's review
Sep 01, 2009

it was amazing
Read in April, 2009

#2 in the Yashim the Eunuch historical mystery series set in 1830's Istanbul. The sultan is dying, and the city is in a peculiar mood. Yashim, who works for the sultan, hasn't been summoned to the palace in months, so he's perfectly free to investigate the murder of a French archaelogist on his own behalf. Dr. Lefevre had been a guest in Yashim's home the day before he died and he had been asking a lot of nosy questions about valuable Greek artifacts. He sought a ship back to France which Yashim helped him procure and then his body was found, gutted stem to stern and half-eaten by dogs a couple of days later. With lack of any other suspects, the French ambassador can only conclude that Yashim had something to do with his death, so he sets out to remove the cloud of suspicion from his good name before the ambassador files his final report.

Steeped in history, myth and legend, the tale leads Yashim to several different neighborhoods of the city and even below it, as other people that Dr. Lefevre talked to end up attacked or dead also. When his widow arrives, not yet knowing she is a widow, things get even more complicated. An excellent story, full of the culture, sights, sounds, smells and tastes of Istanbul (I want to hire Yashim as my personal chef!!), with lots of history and the added bonus of secrets well-kept and secret societies, this was a very enjoyable read.

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