Baksheesh, by Esmahan Aykol
Baksheesh is the Turkish author Esmahan Aykol’s second detective novel in English, and the action is set in Istanbul, a city she clearly loves. Her heroine, Kati Hirschel, a German woman in her 30s, owns a crime bookshop and soon finds life imitating art when, quite unbelievably, she is accused of murdering a local hood. The accusation is as thin as the plot that follows. Hirschel, offended by the suspicion that has fallen on her, decides to find the real culprit and sets off on a meandering trail through Istanbul and its populace. Solving the murder is, however, often interrupted by Hirschel worrying about her weight, the colour of her hair and her on-off relationship with her lawyer lover. At no point does the reader truly feel that Hirschel is the sort of person with the insight or tenacity to solve a murder case – but do not be surprised if she does.