An Oriental Murder by Jane Bastin | Blog Tour Guest Post #AnOrientalMurder


Publisher: Crooked Cat Books (12 July 2018)

Available in ebook and paperback

255 pages

|   About the Book   |


The Pera Palas hotel in Istanbul, Turkey plays host to the Agatha Christie Writers’ Congress when real life imitates fiction. The bodies of the Prime Minister and his occasional mistress are found dead in one of the hotel’s locked rooms surrounded by bodyguards. Seemingly, no one could get in or out, and yet…
Inspector Sinan Kaya is convinced that foreign agents are culpable, and that the murders are linked to the recent spate of killings of Turkish government officials.
Within this complicated, crime riddled city, Sinan Kaya’s moral compass never falters. Not concerned with threats of dismissal from the force, he cuts his own path through the investigation, determined to uncover the truth.
An Oriental Murder is a tale of espionage and murder set against the backdrop of beautiful Istanbul, the ancient city where east and west meet.


The background to my love affair with Istanbul

Newly graduated with little to no common sense and in search of an adventure, I accepted the offer of a drunken Scotsman to teach English and American literature at a university in Turkey. Completely unqualified other than a degree in English and never having ventured any further south than Eastbourne, I decided in less time than it takes to switch a light on, that this would be a great idea.

“Turkey? Why Turkey?”, my parents were horrified. The notorious film, ‘Midnight Express’ and genetically transmitted memories of Sultans and harems of virginal European girls with degrees in English were what dominated the conversation until I left one September on a ten hour flight with the now defunct ‘Yugoslavian Airlines’.

I had absolutely no idea what to expect, other than ropey toilet hygiene, but not this. The drunken Scotsman’s only piece of advice was to take rolls and rolls of toilet paper. But this was like nothing I had ever experienced. Landing at night, the minarets of the mosques glittered like Christmas trees. Calls for prayer loitered in the still air like rhythmic lullabies and I was mesmerised. The long journey was punctuated by two burst tyres, glasses of hot, fragrant Turkish tea, a fug of cigarette smoke , rings of bread smothered in sesame seeds and men with Dalieseque moustaches clicking prayer beads. Bewitched and confused in equal measure, I knew this was going to be the adventure I had yearned.

The accommodation for teachers had no roof so we lived on the side of a mountain for a few weeks with no running water. I needed more than just toilet roll! So, I escaped as often as possible to the university flat in Istanbul. Chaotic, deafening, maddening. I loved it. Wandering for hours along old streets around the Pera Palas hotel; washing strung between houses that looked as though they were on the verge of falling into each other; tiny alcoves selling hot salep drink made from the roots of orchids frothing in large copper vats; dervishes whirling silently down a side street; elf like muezzins with tea cosy woollen hats clambering up and down the minarets to call the faithful to prayer; ladies crocheting and knitting furiously on scrubbed doorsteps surrounded by children and cats; lone men pounding the streets selling everything from pickle juice to blood pressure tests; ladies circling the raki drinkers pumping accordions ruthlessly; men wearing the outlawed fez skulking in corners , ladling steaming Turkish coffee into tiny china cups; I found ways of living so alien that I was literally and metaphorically confused and captivated.

Thirty four years later and I am still here in Istanbul. The orient rubbing uncomfortably with the west and I am still confused. But, I think I‘ve realised that confusion is to be relished and encouraged. Inspired by this place and its madness, I have tried to pour the essence of the city into ‘An Oriental Murder’. I hope it inspires others to step into the city.


My thanks to Rachel’s Random Resources for the tour invite and to Jane for providing the guest post.


|   Author Bio   |

Jane is a storyteller, writer, traveller and educator. Having lived and worked for over thirty years in Turkey, Jane has amassed a breadth of experiences that have led to the writing of the Sinan Kaya series of novels. Of course all characters and events are fictitious!

Fluent in both English and Turkish, Jane writes in both languages and has had a range of articles published in Turkish periodicals and magazines alongside British newspapers.

Jane now divides her time between rainy Devon and sunny Turkey.


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