Thursday, November 17, 2016


Jason Goodwin, author of the delightful series that features Ottoman detectiveYashim, has published COOKING ISTANBUL, a collection of recipes from the Yashim novels. It is a beautifully designed  volume with such lush photographs it could become a coffee table book if it were not for its clearly written recipes for delicious dishes.

Please click on the link below for NPR's interview with Jason and some of the recipes included in his book.

Click on the link belowto order COOKING ISTANBUL, which is also available at Amazon.

Saturday, October 15, 2016


I am reposting Jason Goodwin's announcement of his Yashim cookbook. I have pre-ordered my copy. I recommend that readers consider it as a magnificennt Holiday--or any time--present.


Dear Yashimite (if I may),

Last week we took delivery of the first copies of Yashim Cooks Istanbul, the book designed to take you deeper into the world of Yashim's Ottoman adventures. I'm writing because you have enjoyed the novels, from The Janissary Tree to The Baklava Club, and might wish to hear more about this unique celebration of 19thcentury Istanbul’s leading gourmet sleuth.

Following Yashim’s adventures in his kitchen, Yashim Cooks Istanbul contains all sorts of easy, traditional recipes from the Ottoman capital and its hinterlands. There are simple and delicious family dishes like a Greek fisherman’s stew, pumpkin soup or eggplant chicken wraps, alongside more unusual recipes for feasts, from stuffed mackerel, to hazelnut and lemon pilaf, or fish poached in paper.
There are lots of recipes for vegetarians and pescatarians, interwoven with illustrations, photos and descriptions which evoke the world of 19th century Istanbul, including extracts from the novels which you may enjoy.
Those of you who kindly volunteered to test one will find the finished recipe here, along with your name in the acknowledgements, because the book could not have happened without your thoughtful input.
My favourite combination of recipe and extract is The Assassin’s Steak Tartare, a classic recipe accompanied by the passage in which Yashim struggles with a Tartar assassin at the window of a Venetian palazzo...

The book has a distinctive cover, appropriate for the themes of crime, cooking and Istanbul, but also rather suitable for Hallowe’en and Thanksgiving. It’s a beautiful hardback with 224 colour pages and an index to the extracts and recipes. You might find a signed copy would make a good Christmas present!


Yashim Cooks Istanbul goes on sale in the bookshops and bookstores on October 27th in the UK, and November 15th in the USA. If you have already ordered your copy or copies, thank you: they’ll be sent out to you right away. If you’d still like to order an early copy or two, signed and free of postage charges, you can do so here.
If any of your friends would be interested, please share this email with them - and do get in touch if you think of anyone I ought to contact. It is, after all, a small world.
best wishes,

Copyright © 2016 Jason Goodwin, All rights reserved.

Friday, July 1, 2016


Click on the link to read the compelling first chapter of Daniel Silva's new novel, THE BLACK WIDOW. The book will be out on 12 July 2016. Mark your calendars. This promises to be an amazing read.

Daniel's Silva's new novel

Tuesday, March 22, 2016


If I boil down my list of what makes a good book, I am left with the following: clear, precise language, a well-designed plot, a memorable sense of place, engaging characters. Alan Furst’s A HERO OF FRANCE meets these standards. It is a story of French Resistance agents who help downed British pilots to return to Britain. That the salient characters are ordinary people whose bravery is devoid of hubris makes their story all the more touching. Presented with the choice of joining les colabos who aid and abet the Nazis, Mathieu, aristocratic Annemarie, elegant Chantal, bar owner Jules, a few others prefer to risk their lives in order to liberate their country.
Furst tells the story of these heroes without adding any unnecessary frills. He writes in crisply precise language that is as elegant in its apparent simplicity a glass of the best French wine. Dive into this book and, as it happens when you sip good French wine, a rich complexity is your reward. The reminders that France is, for the moment, a conquered country are present in streetlamps painted blue, in the sounds of police patrol, in the reek of old uniforms in the flea market, at the smell of putrefying on the floor of a boucherie chevaline, in the smell of coffee made with chicory, and nuts, in the way tired Parisians shift from foot to foot as they wait in longer and longer lines. But expect no tugging at your heartstrings. Furst is above that. He builds characters who do what they must because that is the right thing. There is no dithering, no hesitation, no hand wringing. Who would not love to meet such people? I found them all so real, so  decent I feel honored to have met them, if only  in print.

Ex-tank commander Mathieu, who leads a Resistance cell, is no D’Artagnan. His story does not call for flourishes. He is a patriot without speeches, without slogans. If he thinks, briefly, about what he has had to give up in order to lead his group of Resistants, he does not s indulge in self-pity. There is a point, where Furst flashes his amazing understanding of French character, “He’s French—not so much afraid of dying as afraid of doing wrong.” That makes me  think of knights, paladins, of D’Artagnan minus the braggadocio. This is the kind of person needed to defeat monsters. This the kind of person who returns to an everyday metier--skip the political office. On his war work is done, he goes on with his life. Please note the implied  emphasis on the word life, for this is at the heart of Furst’s writing. This is a book about difficult choices and difficult times. But ultimately, it is praise  song to life. This is the reason its characters leap off the page and stay with you long after you closed the book. The ability to write such a book is the mark of a master.