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The Bellini Card by Jason Goodwin: be transported from Istanbul to Venice in this thrilling historical mystery.
Jason Goodwin is the author of two non-fiction books, The Gunpowder Gardens: Travels in China and India in Search of Tea and On Foot to the Golden Horn, which won the John Llewellyn Rhys/Mail on Sunday Prize in 1993. His first Yashim mystery, The Janissary Tree, became an international bestseller when it was published in 2006; it and its sequel, The Snake Stone, have been translated into 37 languages. The third Yashim adventure, The Bellini Card, was published in 2008. Jason Goodwin lives in Dorset with his wife Kate and their four children.
In this third installment in a series (after The Janissary Tree and The Snake Stone) set in the 1830s-40s, Goodwin returns to the exotic world of the Middle East, but only briefly. Yashim, the eunuch detective, is instructed by the Ottoman sultan to go to Venice to find a portrait of Mehmet the Conqueror painted by Bellini, but Resid Pasha requests he avoid any extravagance in purchasing the painting. To please both, Yashim sends a friend, the impoverished Polish ambassador Palewski, to go in his stead, masquerading as an American connoisseur. As Palewski searches for the portrait, a killer stalks the city and all who have a connection with the Bellini. The resulting tale is as labyrinthine as the watery thoroughfares of Venice. Beautifully evocative and filled with characters whose thoughts and deeds are as much a mix of Italy and the Orient as the city itself, this is a book to be savored. Series fans will not be disappointed, and new readers will find themselves seeking out Goodwin's earlier works. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 11/15/08.]-Pamela P. O'Sullivan, SUNY at Brockport Lib. Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.
Near the start of Edgar-winner Goodwin's fine third historical to feature the eunuch Yashim, who serves the Ottoman rulers of early 19th-century Turkey (after 2008's The Snake Stone), Yashim's close friend Stanislaw Palewski, the Polish ambassador to the Turkish sultan, accepts an undercover assignment on the sultan's behalf. Posing as an American, the diplomat travels to Venice in an effort to locate a portrait of Mehmet the Conqueror (who reclaimed Constantinople from the Christians in 1453), painted by the legendary artist Gentile Bellini. Fortunately for Palewski, Yashim, who has a secret plan for the painting's recovery, intervenes in time to set the mission on the right track after the murder of two art dealers. While Yashim initially plays a backstage role, the eunuch and a shadowy power broker engage in an exciting and complex duel of wits in the book's final quarter. Once again, Goodwin skillfully blends deduction, action sequences and period color. (Mar.) Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.