We return to late 19th century Tennessee, where Thomas McNulty and John Cole are living quietly with Lige Magan, former slaves Rosalee and Tennyson Bouguereau and Winona, the Lakota Indian girl they adopted in Days Without End.
Mud and Stars combines Sara Wheeler’s periodic travels in and around various parts of the former Soviet Union with chapter-size biographies of some of Russia’s literary greats plus summaries of their major work(s).
She also makes interesting detours into the worlds of translation and her London-based adventures in learning the Russian language, culture and cuisine.
A good book for insights into modern Russia, and the great playwrights, poets and novelists of the 19th and 20th century – about whom I know (knew) next to nothing.
Completely unexpected twist towards the end of this novel. A complete side-swipe. And a cliffhanger ending.
Neither of which have anything to do with the central plot, where Istanbulli Inspectors Ikmen and Suleyman investigate the murder of the young woman from a mixed Catholic-Muslim family, whose apparent cure from leukaemia at an Armenian Church famed for its annual healing ceremony had stirred up strong reactions across Istanbul’s complex religious spectrum.
Back to Istanbul for more investigations in the company of Inspectors Ikmen and Süleyman and their police colleagues.
Always a great read – this one kept me turning the pages until almost midnight – and Barbara Nadel also shows you the social, religious and political tensions at play in modern Turkey. In The House of Four we get some late Ottoman history too.
Flavia Albia is called upon to investigate the mysterious death of Gabinus, a transport manager who turns out to be a decidedly unpopular man all round …. although possibly not quite as unpopular as paranoid Emperor Domitian, for whom all of Rome – and plenty of Romans from outside the Imperial City – are preparing a Double Triumph.