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News from a wargamer with a special interest in the military history of the Balkans. It mainly covers my current reading and wargaming projects. For more detail you can visit the web sites I edit - Balkan Military History and Glasgow & District Wargaming Society. Or follow me on Twitter @Balkan_Dave

Monday, 12 December 2011

Bellini Card

The Bellini Card

Crime fiction is not my usual genre, but when the setting is 19th Century Istanbul and the author is a historian of the period, I am interested. The Bellini Card is the third in Jason Goodwin's series about the Ottoman detective Yashim.

Most of this book is set in Venice 1840. Yashim and his friend the Polish Ambassador set about recovering the missing portrait of Sultan Mehmet. Venice in 1840 is no longer the great city of the Renaissance. After Napoleon captured the city, followed by Austrian occupation, trade and wealth by pass the city. But there is plenty of intrigue and local politics as they pursue the painting.

I won't spoil the story, but as you would expect from this author the tale has some basis in fact. The former British Ambassador to the Porte, who retired to Venice, acquired the painting of Mehmet II by Bellini in 1865 when it was left on his doorstep! His widow donated the painting to the National Gallery in London.

I have enjoyed this series and if you like crime fiction you won't be disappointed.

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