The Sultan’s seal

The Sultan’s seal by Jenny White is ultimately a “who-done-it?” novel. What makes this mystery novel so interesting though is the author’s rich descriptions and historic detail that is augmented by lavish depiction of the cultural situation. With abundant descriptions of the clothes, social customs, religious etiquette and social unrest as new ideals of European nationalism sweep the country. This novel is set in the late 19th Century of the Ottoman empire, prior to Turkey’s involvement in the World War and prior to the establishment of Turkey as a secular democratic state.

The main character is Turkish magistrate Kamil Pasha who is called to investigate when the naked body of a murdered English woman washes up on the shores of the Bosporus. As Kamil Pasha investigates alarming similarities emerge to a prior unsolved murder case of an English governess. The plot becomes even more complex when Kamil Pasha investigates a pendant engraved with the Sultan’s seal that both murdered women have worn.

If you’re in the mood for some cultural diversion, palace intrigue, and a gentle hint of romance then the Sultan’s Seal is the book for you.