Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Jason Goodwin's The Bellini Card has a nose for the truth

My favorite line of the day is from The Bellini Card, Jason Goodwin's third novel featuring the most thoughtful, brooding polyglot late-Ottoman eunuch investigator in all of crime fiction:
"The sultan screwed up his face and opened his mouth as if to scream, then whisked a handkerchief from the desk and sneezed into it loudly and happily.

"Yashim blinked. In the Balkans, people said you sneezed whenever you told a lie."
For more on the Edgar Award-winning author, click here and scroll down.

© Peter Rozovsky 2010

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15 Comments:

Blogger seana said...

Hmm. I'm obviously going to have look at this sneezing/lying correlation more closely.

July 27, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I wonder if Balkan spies tried especially hard to keep their allergies under control in the nineteenth century, when this novel was set.

July 27, 2010  
Blogger seana said...

Allergies would seem to be the hitch in this detective mode.

July 27, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I don't know what the upshoot of this sultanic sneeze will be, but I have written elsewhere that Goodwin's writing appeals more to the sense of smell than most crime fiction does. The olfactory is just a bigger factor for him than for most writers.

July 27, 2010  
Blogger seana said...

Oddly enough, I just watched a nature clip about dogs and was reminded once again of their ultra superior sense of smell. Even Jason Goodwin is an inferior specimen compared to your average labrador.

(Sorry, Jason.)

July 27, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

As fans of J.F. Englert and Randolph, you and I know how dogs smell.

No, wait. I mean you and I know that dogs smell good. Or well.

No, I don't mean that Yashim uses his sense of smell to compensate for what he has lost, I mean that Goodwin's writing appeals to the sense of smell, whether in the simple meals Yashim prepares for himself, or the factory (I don't remember if it's a dye works or a tannery or some other pungent place) where a chase happens in one of the books.

July 28, 2010  
Blogger seana said...

I just meant that Goodwin must have a good sense of smell to include it in his writing. Unfortunately, it can't be as good as Randolph's. Limitation of the species, I'm afraid.

July 28, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Sights, sounds, smells of Istanbul do it for him, I guess. He hiked some great distance to Istanbul and wrote a nonfiction book about it, so he must like the city. Randolph might enjoy reading his books.

July 28, 2010  
Anonymous solo said...

Peter, have you checked out the Rap Sheet recently? You might find the latest post interesting.

July 28, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Thanks, and hey, you. Get off of my cloud.

From the looks of my result, the program gives recent words more weight, which makes some sense, I suppose.

July 28, 2010  
Anonymous solo said...

Thanks, and hey, you. Get off of my cloud

Peter, I've never been a Rolling Stones fan but I recoginze the quotation. Cloud, my ass. Any back and forth through short sentences is liable to lead to misunderstandings. I'm sorry if my attempts at concision tend to be more confusing than enlightning.

But if you want to hit me where it hurts I'm more Led Zep that RStones

Above all I'm a DBB fan. Now, there's flattery for you!

I'm curious, though. What prompted that cloud reference?

July 28, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

"Wordle is a toy for generating “word clouds” from text that you provide."

The program creates word clouds -- clusters of words arranged by size and, I think, proximity to the center of the diagram according to their pertinence -- for the terms or URL the user types in.

July 28, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Thanks for the kind words, though, even if you were a little cloudy on the details.

July 28, 2010  
Anonymous SOLO said...

DBB ROCKS. ANYTHING CLOUDY ABOUT THAT, PETER?

July 28, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Whoa!

July 28, 2010  

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