Recommended by Josh
The Kiss Murder
By Mehmet Murat Somer
Published by Penguin Books
A thriller by genre, a character piece at heart, Mehmet Murat Somer’s The Kiss Murder is a week in the life of an unnamed drag queen who looks like Audrey Hepburn and kickboxes like Tony Ja.
When one of the girls at ‘Audrey’s’ nightclub goes missing, our hero/ine finds him/herself thrust into a mystery involving right wing politicians, bored housewives, catty co-workers and lustful cabbies. There’s murder, of course, and sex. These are the stock and trade of mysteries, after all. But where The Kiss Murder subverts the genre is in its exploration of the Cinderella-like lives of the club queens who must make it home before sunrise lest their facial hair grow too thick. Somer has created a diverse community of outlandish outcasts who, when not fighting against their repressive society, are cat-fighting mercilessly amongst themselves. So vicious are these vixens that even the sudden disappearance of their cross-dressing co-worker fails to unite them. In fact, it makes things worse. Old rivalries re-arise, dead drama is resurrected, and what might have been a simple whodunit becomes a labyrinthine journey through the backstreets and bachelor pads of Istanbul.
In Turkey, Somer’s anonymous Audrey Hepburn lookalike is already the star of her own series of books. Not only is she the classic, accidental action hero, but she’s got enough emotional baggage and quirky acquaintances to fill a dozen novels. Beneath ‘Audrey’s’ fantastic facade of witty one liners and stylish ensembles, she’s all of us, male and female.