This book is as far from Northern Irish as you can get. I thought the first deviation should be a spectacular one. The Prophet Murders is the opening instalment of the Hop-Ciki-Yaya detective series by
Somer has created the most original detective I have encountered to date. The unnamed protagonist is a transvestite nightclub owner, kickboxing computer-geek with a lucrative IT day-job. And on top of all this, she’s brought it upon herself to investigate the alarming pattern of transvestite murders in
Our protagonist, who most refer to as abla -- the Turkish title for a big sister, runs a nightclub wherein a curious Joe Public can experience the exotic world of transvestism. Abla’s club hosts a venue for the dolled up dancers, and many of the local girls have worked for her at some point in their lives. Because of this, abla has accumulated a huge list of contacts and attachments within their tight-knit community. And since the police don’t seem to count crime against transvestites as serious, who better to assume the role of chief investigator when the poor girls start dropping like flies? Abla calls on everyone she knows to get to the bottom of this case, all the while aware that her own life is in serious jeopardy.
The novel is a fascinating insight into a community which I know very little about. Somer, through his protagonist, introduces us to the many types of transvestites and holds their lifestyle up to respectful examination. The book doesn’t judge or try to force the alternative lifestyle on the reader. It simply shows us what life is like for “manly girl” in
I had hoped for a more detailed tour of
I won’t judge the writing too harshly, as this book began life in Turkish and I’m sure a lot of Somer’s literary flourishes were lost in translation. I suspect some of the comedy also failed to make it through the transition. This novel is marketed as hilarious but I think that’s hyperbole. I found little humour, though I do think it was a very light and fun read. There’s the odd typo and awkward sentence, but again, I put this down to small translation errors. Overall, this is a highly presentable and easily read text. I think this series will be very popular.
So, lock up your sons, readers. The Turkish transvestite detective is coming, and she’s taking no prisoners.