cover image The Winter Thief

The Winter Thief

Jenny White. Norton, $24.95 (400pp) ISBN 978-0-393-07017-0

Set in 1888, White’s gripping third thriller to feature Turkish detective Kamil Pasha (after The Abyssinian Proof ) will appeal to fans of Laura Joh Rowland’s Japanese historical series. Like Rowland’s hero, Kamil serves as a special investigator for his country’s ruler (in his case, the sultan of the Ottoman empire), and he must compete for influence with a ruthless and powerful rival. The discovery of a shipment of illegal arms and an explosion and robbery at the Imperial Ottoman Bank compound the sultan’s fears about threats to his rule. The challenges mount for Kamil when Vahid, the vicious head of the secret police, frames him for murder before Kamil can go to the Choruh Valley to find out whether a socialist commune is actually a base for revolutionaries. Vahid plots to gain even more control over the empire by being put in charge of a new intelligence service. While there’s no mystery about who committed the crimes, the atmospherics and period detail are first-rate. (Mar.)