Welcome to Murder by the Book's blog about what we've read recently. You can find our website at www.mbtb.com.

Friday, January 2, 2009

The Kiss Murder, by Mehmet Murat Somer (trade, $14)

Although this Turkish author wrote this book first, it is the second to be published here, following The Prophet Murder released late last year.

In a very nutty nutshell, the heroine is a transvestite who labors as a computer programmer by day (mostly appearing in a male persona) and by night as the owner and manager of a nightclub featuring transvestites as entertainers and companions.

One of her "girls" comes to our heroine (never named) for advice. Buse is afraid for her life when it comes to light that she holds materials implicating a famous and powerful person in a homosexual relationship. Our heroine, channeling a kick-boxing Audrey Hepburn, if Audrey ever kick-boxed, has no time to save the day before Buse is murdered. Buse's blind mother has disappeared and our heroine is being stalked as a potential threat to someone, perhaps the mysterious famous person. She must locate and save Buse's mother and must also save her own well-moisturized skin in the process.

Half-serious, half-comic, and half just plain strange, I have never read a book like this. And I don't know what to think about it. Fortunately, I will have many opportunities to decide, since Somer has produced six of these "Hop-Ciki-Yaya"books all together so far.

I have to digress and explain what I have learned of Hop-Ciki-Yaya, a term that was harder to learn about than I thought it would be. According to one of Somer's publishers, this is pronounced "Hope-Cheeky-Yah-Yah." Again, paraphrasing the publisher, it is a nonsensical chant from the 60s that was a whimsical way to refer to "over-the-top, screaming queens." In an addled way that makes no sense but fits in perfectly with the tenor of this book, it also refers to a cheer that high school girls would yell to support their school teams.

Okay, back to the review.

The tongue-in-cheek, flouncy parts I liked. The mystery, not so much. Every character was, well, a character. There are no straight parts, but not in a sexual sense. Everyone has a tangled, twisted story and there are lots of tics and aberrations to go around. The plot was anticlimactic but there were fun bits to that as well.

And, yes, I will read another. I think they're like potato chips. You don't need to know where they've been or where they're going; they're plain old yummy and undemanding.

1 comment:

  1. Am a big fan of Mehmet Murat Somer and look forward to reading more of his books!