Murray's Reviews > The Janissary Tree

The Janissary Tree by Jason Goodwin
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's review
Apr 18, 09

bookshelves: novel, crime-and-mystery
Read in January, 2007

To have, as your detective, a eunuch is an inspired choice if you can handle it. To have a eunuch in the time of the Ottoman empire, and one who is attracted to and found attractive by, the ladies, is ingenious. To combine this with a deep knowledge of Istanbul in the 19th century is the gift that makes Jason Goodwin's whodunnits much better than average as a crime novel.

Our hero is Yashim. Being a eunuch he can go anywhere and is trusted in the harem. Being a eunuch he tends to be underestimated. The background historical details add to a rich mix in this tale of Janissaries and their angst. Perhaps the story gets a tiny bit complex towards the end - or maybe I was interrupted at a crucial point. Overall a delicious read (and not only because of mouth-watering descriptions of cuisine of the time).
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