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An Oriental Murder by Jane Bastin - Book Tour

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An Oriental Murder

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.


Chapter 2: the murder of the Prime Minister has taken place in a locked, guarded room in the Pera Palas hotel, Istanbul. Inspector Sinan Kaya displays his trademark preference for good food before the demands of a case. However, he also demonstrates the ways in which he draws on the history of the city to help him solve the myriad of clues that he encounters. Bea, the daughter of the founder of the Agatha Christie authors’ congress has set her sights on Inspector Sinan Kaya. He is attractive with very little awareness of this and Bea, a novelist specialising in detective fiction, leaps at the opportunity to ensnare him.

The reception for the authors’ congress was well underway. Mutterings of a double murder floated amid the crowd lending a frisson of excitement to their world of make-believe crime. Sinan had no intention of staying. He knew he could interview the occupants of the hotel the next day but the woman with the copper-coloured hair and the long black dress stood by the birdcage lift and held out her hand.

“Bea Schilller. You must be Inspector Sinan Kaya.”
Sinan opened his mouth to speak but she continued.
“I have heard so much about you. You really are as dashingly good looking in the flesh as they described in the write up about the Sultan Suleyman incident.”
Sinan had little self-consciousness. He rarely felt embarrassment. He knew that he was good at his job. No, not simply good but exceptionally good. If people wanted to comment on this, that was fine. But this copper-coloured woman. This Bea Schiller caught him off guard. Close up, her resemblance to Ani was less but she still had an air of something… familiar. He was silent.
“Please, let me get you dinner. The congress will finish their reception drinks in a minute and then dinner will be served. Please join me.”
On a conscious level Sinan felt the need to distance himself but the softness of her hand and the hunger in his stomach led him to the large dining hall.

Gold-plated candelabras lined the long, linen-draped tables. Waiters darted in and out of guests swaying in from the drinks reception. Sinan drank a large gulp of ice cold water. He closed his eyes as he felt the cold hit the nerve endings at the back of his throat. Plates of mezes, yoghurt with herbs, spicy tomatoes, broad bean puree and fried octopus were placed in front of each of the guests. Bea pulled her chair closer to Sinan.
“We American women are pretty forward, you know. Sorry about that. Hope I’m not intimidating you?”
Sinan took another gulp of water and spoke without meeting her gaze.
“Not at all. It’s a pleasure to be asked to eat with a beautiful woman.” As he said the words, he remembered his promised date with Zeynep from the fraud department.
“So, do you think you know how the two bodies were killed? A classic locked room scenario, wouldn’t you agree?”
“I’m not sure about agree but it looks odd. You know when Sultan Mehmet II took the city of Constantinople from the Byzantines it looked to be an impossible task. But he waited, bided his time, sized up the barriers and struck in the least expected way at the least expected time.”
“Fascinating. So, a kind of locked room scenario for the whole of the city.”
“Yes. But there was, as there always is – unless you believe in magic – a solution.”
“So, what did this Sultan Mehmet II do?”
“In 1453 he besieged the city with troops and ships for fifty-three days. He was only twenty-one years old but sniffed the scent of a wounded empire. There was no apparent way to get his ships into Istanbul along the Golden Horn. The Byzantines had set up a series of chains that effectively blocked any ship’s entrance. So Mehmet ordered a road of oiled logs to be set up on the hill at Galata.”
Sinan waved his hand in the direction of the door as though this explained where the nearby district of Galata was.
“And?” prompted Bea, ducking beneath Sinan’s hand.
“And, well… he was the sultan and he ordered hundreds of men to haul the boats up the hill on the oiled logs and deposited them in the Golden Horn. He couldn’t reach it by sea. It was a locked city. But he found a way in.”
Bea cradled her chin in her upturned palms and stared. Sinan looked at his fried octopus, the flesh was slightly warm, he thought, before placing a large forkful in his mouth. Bea laced her fingers together, leant across the table and whispered,
“The spider weaves the curtains
in the palace of the Caesars
The owl calls the watches
in the towers of Afrasiab.”
Sinan looked up and smiled. Just as he was about to reply, an elderly woman festooned in scarves towered over Bea.
“Inspector Sinan, my mother – Agatha Schiller.”


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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