"My one single favorite book of the year." — Anthony Boucher, Edgar Award-winning critic for The New York Times Book Review
Turkish philosopher and scholar Nuri Bey lives for his books and longs to study at Oxford. His dream is unattainable without the help of his rich patron, Madame Miasma, so when she asks Bey to deliver a parcel to a friend of hers, he readily agrees. The simple-sounding favor leads to Bey's unwitting participation in a fateful string of events, from an airport shootout with members of an international drug smuggling ring to his sudden and unexpected involvement with a rootless British teenager.
This atmospheric tale of murder and suspense unfolds in Istanbul, which provides a vivid backdrop of minarets, mosques, and the Bosphorus, the dark and winding waterway that bisects the city. Winner of the 1962 Gold Dagger award from the British Crime Writers' Association, it colorfully portrays the differences between British and Turkish sensibilities in the 1960s. The story reflects a society at the crossroads of Europe and Asia that's caught between a proud sultanic past and a compelling modern future.