Recommend me a good crime/mystery novel set in Istanbul, please

In March, I’ll be on a one-week trip to Istanbul (coinciding nicely with my playing Turkey in Diplomacy). I thought it would be good and fitting reading if I took a good mystery or crime novel along. I’m less keen on action (although a well-written gripping thriller would be great too), the kind of novels I enjy is the classic whodunit in Agatha Crhistie style. If anyone can recommend a good piece from those genres set at the Bosporus, I’d very much appreciate that.

Um… this may not be exactly what you asked for, but Neuromancer had one chapter set in Istanbul. There was a scene with a hideous monster attacking on a dark rainy street.

You would probably like the novels of Pierre Loti, an expatriate Frenchman who made Istanbul his second home around the end of the 19th century. Good luck finding any of them still in print, though. I did once read one of them translated into English.

“Murder on the Orient Express” ends there, but may not satisfy you.

Try the Mrs. Pollifax novels by Dorothy Gilman. At least one (The Amazing Mrs. Pollifax) is set partly in Turkey. All of them take the little-old-lady protagonist all over the world.

Not Constantinople?

Try The Light of the Day by Eric Ambler (1962). The book summary is as follows:“Arthur Simpson, a somewhat ordinary Englishman, gets caught in a web of international intrigue. His choice is either to become part of an international jewel heist or to spend the rest of his life confined in a Turkish jail. Ambler does a masterful job of painting realistic portraits of his characters and the foreign landscape, and he mixes suspense and a subtle twist for added color.”

Made into a film (Topkapi) in 1964, with Peter Ustinov. Described on the IMDB as a “Caper film about the theft of a jeweled dagger from an Istanbul museum”. I suspect the film may not have been entirely true to the novel.
You may also like to try this book - I have not read it so I can offer no personal recommendation.

Author: Pamuk, Orhan (trans. by Guneli Gun)

Description: A fascinating tale about a man, who in his quest to find his missing wife, takes on the identity of her journalist half brother. A multi-layered tale with Turkish insight. --Paperback, 400pp. appx size: 8 x 5 1/4 wt: 0.93 lbs.

Topic: Literature- Novels, Poetry, Plays, Stories, etc

Recommended For Travelers To: Europe, Middle East, Turkey

I’ve heard about “Topkapi” a lot, but I’ve never seen it. Sounds good, though, I think I’ll take the Ambler one.
Thanks, guys!

The John le Carré book Single & Single has some chapters set in Istanbul.

And I have seen Topkapi - it’s pretty dated, but there’s a good sequence when they’re actually going through with the robbery - well edited and suspenseful, with no music.

I see that johncole already mentioned Orhan Pamuk, and I thought his book My Name is Red is pretty good. It’s a murder mystery set in 16th or 17th century Istanbul and the characters are mostly members of the court illustrators’ guild. It’s kinda postmodern, though–who’s narrating jumps around a lot (mostly to one or another characters, but occasionally one of the pictures or the color red talks. Thus the title).

But I really enjoyed the (art)history aspect to it.

From Russia With Love by Ian Fleming mostly takes place in Istanbul.

Graham Greene’s “Stanboul Train” aka “Orient Express.” Should have everything you are after.