Book Title: THE GIGOLO MURDER
Author: Mehmet Murat Somer
Publisher: Serpent's Tail
No of Pages: 255
Devastated by a break-up, our unnamed Turkish transvestite heroine swaps her catsuit for pyjamas and becomes a recluse. But her friends refuse to let her waste away in self-pity and drag her out to make up the numbers for a party. There's serious grooming to do before our girl's up to the challenge - her state of misery has left her so thin that even her favourite Audry Hepburn number doesn't cling the way it should.
At the soirée, she becomes entranced with a powerful married man, but it seems unlikely their paths will cross again. Until a body is found - the gigolo victim is connected to her latest crush.
THE GIGOLO MURDER is the third translated Hop-Çiki Yaya Thriller (there are seven books in the series in total) from Turkish author Mehmet Murat Somer. If you are looking for something a little unexpected, then these books are well worth having a look at.
The stories all revolve around an unnamed transvestite heroine as both central character and narrator. In THE GIGOLO MURDER our girl (as he/she always refers to herself), is not well, miserable since the break up of a relationship which meant so much (since the last great love and until the next one comes along!). Dragged along to a show by her dear friend Ponpon (another transvestite and dancer), our heroine meets, and falls for the devastatingly handsome, very married Haluk. It makes perfect sense therefore when Haluk's brother in law is accused of murder, that our heroine would investigate. Investigation comes easy to our heroine - a night-club owning, martial artist, expert computer hacker transvestite who has friends who come in handy on these occasions. Which is just as well because THE GIGOLO MURDER sees her calling in favours and assistance from everybody possible.
Reading the three books in order has actually been a helpful thing. Although each of the stories would stand-alone, THE GIGOLO MURDER is the book in which the crime story picks up and holds a lot more of centre stage. The two earlier books are possibly slightly more memorable for their character development and the explanation of the world in which these characters live. The unnamed heroine of these books is a undoubtedly little arch, frequently histrionic, more than a little temperamental, she is vividly but sensitively drawn. The spotlight, suitably framed and tactfully cast on a part of Turkish / Istanbul society that is possibly unexpected, but undoubtedly close, supportive and self-sufficient.
THE GIGOLO MURDER is really a tremendous crime book, translated in a way that doesn't lose the pace of the story, or the uniqueness of the characters and the setting. This is a series for anybody looking for something a little different, just slightly risqué, but with a tremendous sense of people and place.
Translated so far:
The Prophet Murders
The Kiss Murder
The Gigolo Murder