Wednesday, July 2, 2014
Review of The Gigolo Murder by Mehmet Murat Somer (Penguin, 2009, Turkish 2003)
The unusual twist in Somer’s Hop-Çiki-Yaya series set in Istanbul, Turkey, is the amateur sleuth: a gay, transvestite drag queen, who is vain, camp, catty, impulsive, dramatic, brave, and wears his heart on his expensively clad sleeve. He’s also a dab hand at Thai boxing and a skilled computer hacker. He leads a colourful life, surrounded by a menagerie of larger than life and quirky characters and a penchant for putting his nose in where it’s not necessarily wanted. The result is an interesting lead character whose boundary challenging exploits are good fun to follow. Indeed, The Gigolo Murder has a streak of light humour running throughout. The plot is appealing enough, charting the investigation in to the death of a man abused as a child and exploited as an adult by his family, and it provides an interesting glimpse of different elements of Istanbul’s subcultures: minibus/taxi drivers, drag queen clubs, rich high society. There’s plenty of twists and turns, though it relies on a couple of plot devices at times. Overall, an entertaining read and a fresh contribution to the genre.