Murder in Constantinople

I seem to have read many historical crime series lately and Tasha Alexander has written another one which is new to me. I have started mid-way through the series so I was a bit adrift about some of the background to the investigating couple and their relationship with friends but I don’t think it marred my understanding of the book in any way.

Tears of Pearl is set in nineteenth century Turkey. Lady Emily and Colin Hargreaves are just married and are on their honeymoon. He is a diplomat and she appears to have assisted him before with his work. Something happens on the train as they pull into Constantinople and Emily wants to investigate immediately although at this time no crime has occurred. This is a theme throughout the book with Emily asking questions and inserting herself into situations where she has no place although, of course, she prevails in the end.

A lot of the story involves the harem where Lady Emily gains access. I have read nothing about women in Turkey in this period or the Ottoman rulers so I am not qualified to say how much this part of the book is accurate. I can say, however, that it felt to me that the women in the harem had more freedom to speak and act than I would have supposed and so did Emily. It felt very much as though Emily was a modern woman shoehorned into an historical plot where her activities were needed for the story but weren’t right for the period. I may be wrong about this and, of course, you don’t need to care if you enjoy the book.

The story is fast paced and there are lots of happenings including kidnappings, murder and elopement. It all comes together into a satisfying conclusion. I didn’t hate this book but I would hesitate to pick up another in the series.

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