The Mysterious Bookshop

Nadel, Barbara - Belshazzar's Daughter

Tourist brochures present Istanbul as a glamorous, modern city, but the brochures don't make much mention of Balat, a decrepit neighborhood of narrow, twisting alleys and crumbling tenements. Until recently it was home to Leonid Meyer, a reclusive elderly Jew who, like many of his neighbors, came here long ago to escape one of Europe's various bloodbaths. But Meyer's refuge ultimately became his coffin, the carnage crowned with a gigantic swastika. Inspector Ikmen begins tracking down the few people who might have known the old man, including a faded prostitute, a shadowy family of Russian emigrs, a despairing rabbi, and a high-strung young Englishman in the throes of erotic obsession.