The Prophet Murders — Community news
Somer articulates the feeling of community from the novel's first page, where the protagonist, who manages the club, has just read of a transvestite's death in a fire. "Bad news about our girls always gets me down," he reflects (italics mine).
The protagonist, never named in the book, is not just the manager of the club, he also dresses the part. He is gay and, as narrator and character, he is forthright about his sexual pleasures and practices. By day, he dresses in men's clothing and is an expert in computer security. Nothing like this is likely to turn up in an Agatha Christie novel. Still, the comparison is valid, emphasized by the protagonist's chatty observations about music, television, diets and food and the amusingly chilling gimmickry of the plot (a series of transvestites, each with the given name of a prophet in Islam, turn up dead), and made explicit by references to Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple.
Somer makes intelligent, amusing and creative use of at least one additional amateur-sleuth convention: that of the expert who provides skills that the amateur hero lacks. This protagonist has several such helpers, the most intriguing of whom we meet first in a chat room, where he posts inflammatory messages using the handle jihad2000. The name expresses one facet of the character. The other facets may be far more surprising.
© Peter Rozovsky 2008
Mehmet Murat Somer
Turkish crime fiction