Magic, Mystery, a little Whisky, and a Cat

Novel Magic: The Turkish Affair

A romantic mystery by J. Arlene Culiner

I know many readers expect a romantic suspense to resemble a television drama with stalkers, a serial killer or two, car chases, shoot outs, terror, gun-packing super heroes and heroines. But I’ve always preferred realistic stories, even in the romance genre. I’m certain that, if I were being threatened by a madman, I’d be so wrought up, I wouldn’t have time to fall in love. Besides, in real life, there’s very rarely, a gorgeous, sexy, tender and loving secret agent on hand.

My book, The Turkish Affair, is a romantic suspense/mystery where there is certainly menace, but it’s psychological. Yes, there has been a murder, but it’s off stage: there is no graphic description, there are no chases, no screaming sirens.

The heroine of The Turkish Affair, is Anne, a strong-willed warm and brave woman who’s running from a scandal in her past, but her attraction to my hero, Renaud Townsend, threatens her peace of mind and her way of life. Renaud is intelligent and tender, but has no wish to settle anywhere: his passion is archaeology “discovering the world from the ground down.” However, when important artifacts are stolen, both Anne and Renaud are drawn, although unwillingly, into the mystery.

Like Anne, I went to live in central Turkey where I learnt Turkish and worked as a translator. Many of the incidents I describe in the book really did happen: I was with a group of archeologists when they were called in to identify fake coins; the brave young woman, Leyla, who rescues Anne from a tricky situation really does exist, and she came to my aid on a lonely road in exactly the same circumstances; like Anne, I was also brought in for questioning by a menacing group of policemen — a frightening experience in a country with a terrible human rights record, where people were being arrested for criticizing the government, religion, for being a communist a Kurd, or a journalist, a filmmaker, a writer, or even a teacher protesting against the lack of books.

And although I never did meet the hero of this story, he is modeled after a man I briefly saw. I was traveling on a bus when it pulled off the main road, drove down a rutted lane, and pulled into an archaeological site. While we waited for a passenger to board, I caught sight of a man ambling in the direction of a tumble of pillars and ruins. He was lean, supple, and the bright sun caught the golden blaze of his hair. Who was he? An archaeologist? I never found out. With a puff of noxious smoke, the bus turned and roared back toward the main road. That blond man’s image remained with me over all these years; he was slated to become Renaud Townsend, Anne’s lover in The Turkish Affair.

Read an excerpt from the Turkish Affair:

And a sample:

The Turkish Affair is also available as an Audiobook


Purchase Links:

Writer, social critical artist, and impenitent teller of tall tales, J. Arlene Culiner, was born in New York and raised in Toronto. She has crossed much of Europe on foot, has lived in a mud house on the Great Hungarian Plain, in a Bavarian castle, a Turkish cave dwelling, a haunted house on the English moors, and on a Dutch canal.

She now resides in a 400-year-old former inn in a French village of no interest where, much to local dismay, she protects spiders, snakes, and weeds. Observing people in cafes, in their homes, on trains, or in the streets, she eavesdrops on all private conversations, and delights in hearing any nasty, funny, ridiculous, sad, romantic, or boastful story.

And when she can’t uncover really salacious gossip, she makes it up.

Author links: 

What do you Think? Leave a Comment!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.