Tuesday, March 28, 2023

1926, Instanbul-Anything can happen

Erica Ruth Neubauer
A Jane Wunderly Mystery #4
Kensington Books
March 28, 2023

I discovered the Jane Wunderley series about a month ago and binged through the first three (Murder at Mena House, Murder at Wedgefield Manor, and Danger on the Atlantic). I have always been fascinated by the period between WWI and WWII when the world went through one cataclysmic event after another. First, the Great War was meant to be the "war to end all wars." Following that, the Great Depression an economic disaster that took away the livelihoods of millions worldwide. Finally, the rise of fascism in Europe and the advent of WWII. For Jane Wunderly, the Great War ended a personal nightmare and set her on a path toward independence. Her sadistic first husband went off the war and never came back. Jane took back her maiden name and swore never to marry again. She has an opportunity to travel first to Egypt, then to England, and then a voyage back to America. Accompanying her is her annoying, alcoholic Aunt Millie. Millie has the money to travel, and Jane has always wanted to understand her aunt better. On that first trip to Egypt, she meets Redvers, a handsome and somewhat secretive English Englishman with a shadowy job with the British Government. Adventures with spies, assassins, and thieves ensue, and Redvers is always at her side. Jane is rethinking the single life.

Intrigue in Istanbul takes Jane and Redvers to Jane's childhood home in Boston. Redvers wants to present himself to her widower father, Henry, a historian. They discover an empty house, and nobody knows when or where he may have gone. While going through her father's mail, she finds that he has mortgaged their home for a large sum and is in arrears. The loan is due in just three weeks. Jane has an idea where he might be, however. He specializes in the history of Suleiman the Magnificent and has been obsessed with a storied object called the "Sultan's Heart." He has to be in Istanbul; she has a good idea of where he has lodged and some of his associates. As they reach Instanbul, she finds she has no idea what danger he has gotten himself into or of Redver's associates from his past there.

I am a fan of '30s and '40s movies that portray Americans abroad in a lighthearted and somewhat glamorous manner. Intrigue in Istanbul fits the bill very well. There are spies, assassins, and all sorts of colorful characters in an exotic and mysterious setting. It's a lot of fun and a perfect escape read. The author has visited the city and takes pains to be accurate. Thanks to NetGalley and Kensington Books for an advance digital copy in return for an honest opinion.

RATING- 4 Stars

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