Think all detectives are handsome devils that get all the girls? Well Yashim Togalu isn't. Not that the girls dislike him; or even that he isn't partial to their attention, insofar as he can receive it. The trouble is Yashim has one limitation which prevents him taking his desires in this area beyond a certain point. That is an obvious limitation placed on him by Ottoman tradition. Yashim is a Eunuch.
Yashim is a faithful servant of the Sultan and lives in Istanbul during the nineteenth century. His hobbies are cooking and fighting crime. For the labyrinthine, and Byzantine complexities of The Great City are full of plotting. But with his best friend Stanislaw Pawlewski, an eccentric diplomat from the now extinct Polish Commonwealth (maintained at the Sultan's expense as a Take That! to Russia and Austria), Yashim uncovers the fiendish schemes.
Yashim lives in a changing world with a memory of the glories of Ottoman civilization, but with the modern world closing in. He must adapt, yet he still pays respect to the Good Old Ways.
The Yashim series is written by a historian of the Ottoman Empire, Jason Goodwin.
Books (so far) include:
- The Janisary Tree
- The Snake Stone
- The Belleni Card
- An Evil Eye
- "Arabian Nights" Days: An Ottoman Eunuch in the Nineteenth Century and his boon companion, a Polish Noble Fugitive. They Fight Crime!
- Chaste Hero: Yashim, obviously.
- City of Adventure
- The City Narrows: Istanbul is like a labyrinth and one never knows what one will find where.
- Crouching Scholar Hidden Badass: Yashim
- Decadent Court: The Sultan's court. Not as deadly or decadent as many portrayals of this trope but has more then a few traces of this.
- Eunuchs Are Evil: Averted. The main hero is a Eunuch.
- Exotic Detective: Yashim
- Gentleman Adventurer: Both Yashim and Pawlewski
- Gentleman and a Scholar: Both Yashim and Pawlewski know a lot about various trivia and use it to solve crimes. They are also very gentlemanly.
- Ghost City: Sort of. Istanbul is an inhabited city with ruins piled on each other from thousands of years and is as labyrinthine in time as in space. Truth in Television.
- Good Old Ways: Both Yashim and Pawlewski
- Government in Exile: Pawlewski is a one man government in exile
- Handicapped Badass: Yashim
- Heterosexual - Exsexual life partners : Yashim and Pawlewski
- Hidden Depths: Yashim, a time or two, appears to have the potential to be a ladies man. Eunuchs were not really devoid of desire; they were simply incapable of breeding.
- Merchant City
- Multiethnic City : Istanbul. Truth in Television. The City has representatives from almost every group in the Mediterranean and some from outside.
- Noble Fugitive: Pawlewski
- Not-So-Safe Harbor
- Odd Friendship : Yashim and Pawlewski
- Pawlewski once notes that he is an exile from Poland and Yashim is an exile from maleness so they have something in common.
- Standard Royal Court: The Sultan's Court
- Supreme Chef: Yashim. Stamboli cooking was once in high regard and its reputation may be coming back. Yashim is a master of it.
- Vestigial Empire: The Ottoman Empire
- Worthy Opponent: Invoked. One time Yashim and Pawlewski are making small talk and Yashim sighs wistfully for the days when "All of Europe trembled before us." Whereupon Pawlewski replies, "Not all of Europe." And Yashim raises a toast, "To the honorable enemy."
- Ye Goode Olde Days: Both Yashim and Pawlewski dream of these and point out that they had more then a few advantages over modern times.