PERSONAL: Born in London, England.
ADDRESSES: Agent—c/o Author Mail, St. Martin's Press, 175 5th Ave., New York, NY 10010.
CAREER: Writer. Has worked as an actress, teacher, and mental health worker. Former public relations officer for National Schizophrenia Fellowship Good Companions Project.
Belshazzar's Daughter: A Mystery of Istanbul, Headline (London, England), 1999, Thomas Dunne Books (New York, NY), 2003.
A Chemical Prison, Headline Book (London, England), 2000, published as The Ottoman Cage: A Novel of Istanbul, Thomas Dunne Books (New York, NY), 2005
Arabesk, Headline Book (London, England), 2001.
Deep Waters, Headline Books (London, England), 2002.
Harem, Headline Book (London, England), 2003.
Petrified, Headline Book (London, England), 2004.
Deadly Web, Headline Book (London, England), 2005.
Last Rights, Headline Book (London, England), 2005.
SIDELIGHTS: Barbara Nadel was born in London, but her frequent visits to see relatives in Turkey throughout the years influenced her first novel to be published in the United States, Belshazzar's Daughter: A Mystery of Istanbul. This mystery features a police inspector in Istanbul named Cetin Ikmen. Along with his partner, Suleyman, medical examiner Dr. Sarkissian, and police officer Cohen, Ikmen works to solve a grisly murder that took place in one of the city's rundown quarters. The victim, an elderly Jew, was mutilated in a way that suggests neo-Nazi involvement, and Ikmen is soon investigating various expatriate suspects. Readers not only follow the case but also get a look into the inspector's personal life, which includes chain-smoking, alcoholism, and a wife and nine children. Booklist reviewer Barbara Bibel approved of the way Istanbul is used to provide such a vivid backdrop for this story, which features an "engaging plot" and "remarkably well developed, colorful characters." Several reviewers noted the fast pace and energy of the novel, including a Publishers Weekly writer who noted that Nadel's "deep passion for Turkish culture and her intimate knowledge of that land come through vividly in this riveting crime drama."
Ikmen and his team are again featured in The Ottoman Cage: A Novel of Istanbul. In this story, the body of an attractive young man is found in a locked room in a mansion that has been serving as a boardinghouse for the affluent. The cause of death appears to be a drug overdose, but the drug is a type of synthetic heroine available only to doctors. The inspector's investigations lead to a doctor's connection with a male prostitution ring. As in Belshazzar's Daugther, Ikmen's personal life is a key component of the book's success, according to Bibel in Booklist. She called Nadel's depiction of modern Turkish life "fascinating" and enjoyed her "personal, character-driven" style. Reviewing the book for MBR Bookwatch, Harriet Klausner praised the author's evocation of another culture and described Ikmen as an "interesting and complex protagonist who works himself to death so he doesn't have to cope with nine children, an ailing wife and a delusional father."
Ikmen's adventures are chronicled in severa; other books, including Deadly Web. In a review of that book for the London Guardian Maxim Jakubowski praised it as an "exotic and atmospheric" novel in which the setting is evoked "with precision."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, December 15, 2003, Barbara Bibel, review of Belshazzar's Daughter: A Mystery of Istanbul, p. 732; February 1, 2005, Barbara Bibel, review of The Ottoman Cage: A Novel of Istanbul, p. 946.
Guardian (London, England), February 5, 2005, Maxim Jakubowski, review of Deadly Web.
Kirkus Reviews, October 15, 2003, review of Belshazzar's Daughter, p. 1255; December 15, 2004, review of The Ottoman Cage, p. 1169.
Library Journal, December, 2003, Rex E. Klett, review of Belshazzar's Daughter, p. 171.
MBR Bookwatch, February, 2005, Harriet Klausner, review of The Ottoman Cage.
Publishers Weekly, November 24, 2003, review of Belshazzar's Daughter, p. 44.
AllReaders.com, http://www.allreaders.com/ (September 1, 2005), Harriet Klausner, review of Belshazzar's Daughter.
BookLoons, http://www.bookloons.com/ (August 30, 2005), review of A Chemical Prison.
Crime Time, http://www.crimetime.co.uk/ (September 1, 2005), Barry Forshaw, review of A Chemical Prison.