Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Pera Palas Hotel, Istanbul - Fact & Fiction

Walking into the grand Pera Palas hotel in Istanbul, Turkey is a very special experience and not just for fans of Agatha Christie. The hotel has undergone extensive renovation and restoration, oozing opulence and atmosphere. If you go to Istanbul, have a cocktail/or fruit 'mocktail' in the beautiful Orient bar.  

According to the hotel's website:  'since the Pera Palace Hotel first opened its doors in 1895, its elegant interior and exterior has drawn visitors from all over the world.

Designed by renowned local architect Alexander Vallaury, the iconic building has played host to an impressive list of guests that includes Ernest Hemingway, Agatha Christie and Alfred Hitchcock among others.  Today the hotel maintains the elegant classical style that made it famous, with authentic 19th century features serving as a timeless focal point .. (the) Pera Palace Hotel was designated with "museum-hotel" status in 1981.'

The Pera Palas  is where Christie often stayed and where she wrote Murder on the Orient Express.  There are some wonderful historical displays in cabinets and throughout the hotel.  The ornate birdcage lift off the foyer has an information panel for those keen on spotting scenes from the book.

English crime fiction author Barbara Nadel is another writer who loves Istanbul and her latest book Deadline, number fifteen in the Inspector Cetin Ikmen series, is set in the hotel.

'When Inspector Cetin Ikmen is invited to a murder mystery evening at Istanbul's famous Pera Palas Hotel he finds himself embroiled in a deadly game of life imitating art. Halfway through the evening, one of the actors is found actually dead in the room where Agatha Christie used to stay when she was in Istanbul. Walking in the steps of the great Agatha Christie, Ikmen experiences fear and hatred which have echoes deep in his own and his country's past.' (publisher's note)

If you have visited Istanbul, pick up Deadline and you will recognize this intriguing setting in one of the world's most beautiful cities.

Or be tantalized and visit a Boroondara Library Service branch where you can find a copy of Murder on the OrientExpress or, for a taste of 'Turkish' crime fiction, Barbara Nadel's novels.   

Some Turkish Delight or an exotic cocktail might be the perfect accompaniment.

Carol @ Hawthorn

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