Read The Snake Stone by Jason Goodwin Online


It is Istanbul, 1838, and Lef�vre, a French archaeologist, has arrived in Istanbul determined to uncover a lost Byzantine treasure. Yashim is hired to investigate him, but when the man turns up dead, there is only one suspect: Yashim himself. Once again, the investigator finds himself in a race against time to uncover the startling truth behind a shadowy secret society dedIt is Istanbul, 1838, and Lef�vre, a French archaeologist, has arrived in Istanbul determined to uncover a lost Byzantine treasure. Yashim is hired to investigate him, but when the man turns up dead, there is only one suspect: Yashim himself. Once again, the investigator finds himself in a race against time to uncover the startling truth behind a shadowy secret society dedicated to the revival of the Byzantine Empire, caught in a deadly game deep beneath the city streets, a place where the stakes are high - and betrayal is death....

Title : The Snake Stone
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780571236473
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 320 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Snake Stone Reviews

  • Jeffrey Keeten
    2019-01-21 15:54

    "Yashim did not challenge the men who met him; or the women. With his kind face, gray eyes, dark curls barely touched, at forty, by the passage of the years, Yashim was a listener; a quiet questioner; and not entirely a man. Yashim was a eunuch."The city of Istanbul is nestled under a cloud of apprehension in 1839. The Sultan Malmud II is dying and with any impending change of power the people are uncertain about how their lives will be affected by the will of the new Sultan. Sultan Mahumud IIYashim has not been summoned to the palace in quite a while. With time on his hands his skills at investigation can be turned to private matters. He is promptly hired and as promptly fired to investigate a situation involving an acquaintance of his, a pseudo archaeologist named Maximilien Lefevre. When Lefevre's body is found on the steps of the French Embassy, ripped to shreds by dogs, the prime suspect is Yashim. "Nobody ever could say how, or even why, the dogs had come to Istanbul. Some people supposed that they had been there always, even in the time of the Greeks; others, that they invaded the city at the time of the Conquest, dropping down from the Balkans to prowl through the blasted streets and the ruins in the fields, where they formed into packs and carved out territories for themselves that still held good to the present day. But nobody really knew."Once in a while these dogs are rounded up (all the usual suspects) and hauled out to the country side or dumped on islands and yet..."But either they all came back or they simply grew again, like the lizard's tail or moss in the masonry, the same yellow, rangy, ribs-sticking-out mangy curs, with fleabites and battle scars and their own distinct parishes. And nobody minded them, either. Like puddles after rain, or shadow, or the blazing sun at noon, they were simply there; and they scavenged the city streets and kept them clean."Goodwin writes in such a way that you really feel like you are there stepping over dogs, sliding your hands along Roman stonework, or stopping for a quick coffee to ponder recently acquired clues. 1830s coffeehouseYashim is an avid book collector. He has a particular fondness for French writers. He cooks and takes his food preparations very seriously. The description of the ingredients made my mouth water. A young boy lurks beneath his window available to dash off to the markets at a moments notice for a missing ingredient. (How handy would that be?)Oh wait, yes there is an ongoing investigation. Yashim's books are riffled and the meager contents of his home are tossed (This was the lowest moment of the story for me. It takes a true blackguard to toss books about.). He is chased by Maltese sailors. He is nearly seduced by the beautiful wife of Lefevre. He is stabbed and nearly drowned as he chases the lovely Amelie, who is in search of Byzantium treasure, through the claustrophobic cisterns beneath the Aya Sofia. With encouragement from his friend, the Polish ambassador Stanislaw Palewski, and his confidant and fellow book lover the valide, mother of the Sultan, he continues to chase down the alleyways after the shadows that are obscuring the truth. In the first bookThe Janissary TreeI learned that a eunuch can make love, actually quite passionately. In The Snake StoneI learned that if I ever have to dispose of a body in Istanbul I need to open up the stomach cavity, leave the body in a dark alley, and let the dogs of Istanbul do their worst. With any luck the body will be unrecognizable by morning. If you have any interest in Turkey you have to read this series. If you don't have any interest in Turkey you will after reading Jason Goodwin's books. Highly recommended!!

  • Michael
    2019-01-27 19:39

    I really enjoyed The Janissary Tree, so I was very excited about the release of the follow-up mystery, The Snake Stone. But, sadly, I found it terribly disappointing.Goodwin clearly as a vast knowledge of the world of 19th-century Istanbul. In his first novel, he carefully balanced his knowledge with explanations and descriptions that kept the reader engaged in a world that few Westerners likely know much about. But in this new novel, arcana seems to have taken over, and it makes the story hard to follow. Take, as an example, Goodwin's use of various suburbs and neighborhoods (at least, I assume that's what the locations were) of Istanbul as sites for his action. I, for one, don't know anything about Istanbul's layout or surroundings, and it would have been nice to have a map or something handy just to figure out where people were going and what the different settings were all about. As it was, every time Goodwin transported me to a new area of town I felt lost and confused.This lack of orientation carried into other parts of the book, as well. Indeed, the whole unraveling of the mystery seems a bit aimless. Half of the time, Goodwin seems to be relying on post hoc explanations that have little (if anything) to do with the clues the reader has been offered along the way. Some parts of the mystery (I am thinking in particular of the small metal balls--I won't say more for fear of giving something away) don't get any explanation at all. It's always frustrating when a mystery leaves such obvious questions unanswered.Finally, I was disappointed by the ending, which was terribly anti-climactic. In fact, I only realized after the fact that the climactic scene was actually the climax of the novel: after reading the scene, I was certainly expecting more to happen, but I was left wanting.All in all, a disappointing second effort to follow up on such a great debut novel.

  • Elizabeth Hunter
    2019-01-25 16:37

    The Ottoman Empire feels like a great gap in my understanding of the history of the world, which I've tried to fix over the past decade. Jason Goodwin's Lords of the Horizon was one of non-fiction histories I read and I've enjoyed his move into fictionalizing the declining days of the Empire. Set in 1830's Istanbul, The Snake Stone, like The Janissary Tree before it, explores not only the solutions to crimes, but the culture and politics of the moment, from the perspective of eternal outsider Yashim, a eunuch of the city. His tastes--from the beautiful food that he makes using simple tools, to his weakness for French women--and his friends in places high and low allow the reader a sense of what life was like in a time and place very different from our own.

  • Kate
    2019-02-08 13:50

    I was disappointed to find the author pretty much stuck to a formula from his first mystery so this felt really repetitive, especially reading it one week after book 1. As in the first book, his writing is very lush and interesting, and I enjoyed the view of a place I was seeing nearly 200 years later. But this mystery is even more muddy than the first and in fact it's still hard to say exactly what happened. This is not a good quality in a mystery...I don't like it when authors think it will be more "literary" if they don't explain the mystery clearly. Just makes me feel like I wasted my time. Enjoy this book for it's depiction of Istanbul and for the main character, just don't expect much of a mystery.

  • Karen
    2019-02-13 12:38

    Great description about 1830's Istanbul that I did enjoy reading but just can't get into the "detective" part of the story. Very disjointed and hard to follow. I won't be finishing the series.

  • Jim
    2019-02-13 15:34

    Another interesting mystery by a noted scholar of Ottoman history (he wrote Lords of the Horizons, perhaps the best introduction to the history of Osmanli dynasty from start to finish). Jason Goodwin's Investigator Yashim is a eunuch (a lala in Turkish) semi-involved with the Sultan's court who happens to act as a freelance investigator.In The Snake Stone, a French archeologist gets involved with Yashim and his friend, the Polish consul (even though Poland does not exist as a country in the 1830s, when the story is set) Pawlewski. Neither of them really trust Maximilien Lefevre, who strikes them as too much of a sleazy operator. When, trusting Yashim to help him leave for France, he appears to have been murdered in a particularly grisly way, a Greek secret society called the Hetira is at first blamed.But in the Constantinople of Sultan Mahmoud, nothing seems to be quite as it appears. Nothing!I enjoyed both of the Yashim novels I've read. The only thing that keeps me from giving it five stars is that the author tends to bite off more than he can chew. In The Janissary Tree, he covered the so-called "auspicious event," the suppression of the Janissaries as a privileged military caste. In The Snake Stone, Goodwin tries to go into complicated action sequences, especially in the great underground water conduits of the city, but isn't quite able to carry it off.No matter: I loved all the cooking sequences. As I tried to figure out what was going on, Goodwin made my mouth water. This is all to the good.

  • Kim Kimselius
    2019-02-13 14:03

    Ormstenens gåta av Jason Goodwin. Boken var lite rörig innan jag hade lärt mig alla namn och kommit in i historien. Miljöskildringarna fängslade och det kändes som om jag befann mig i Istanbul. När jag började lyssna på boken insåg jag att jag faktiskt hade läst en bok av den här författare vid ett tidigare tillfälle, den boken tyckte jag mycket om: Eunuckens gåta.Den här boken nådde inte riktigt samma höjder, ändå fascinerades jag av berättelsen och kunde inte sluta lyssna på boken. Kan varmt rekommendera dig att läsa Ormstenens gåta!Året är 1838. Maximilien Lefèvre, en fransk arkeolog, anländer till Istanbul för att söka efter en försvunnen bysantisk skatt. Hans närvaro skapar oro i stadens grekiska grupperingar och snart hittas hans kropp stympad. Detektiven Yashim, som i ett svagt ögonblick försökt hjälpa mannen ur landet, åtar sig att lösa fallet. Spåren leder honom tillbaka i historien, till den häpnadsväckande sanningen om ett ljusskyggt sällskap som vigt sina liv åt att bevara de gamla bysantiska rikets skatter.Ormstenens gåta är den andra fristående boken av tre om den osmanske detektiven Yashim. Första boken, Eunuckens gåta, blev belönad med Edgar Award, USA:s stora deckarpris.kramisar Kim

  • Rusty
    2019-02-16 15:02

    I truly enjoy this series. The description of the exotic city, people, food, and customs is fascinating. In Stone, several murders have taken place and while a group named Hetira appears to be involved Yashim is primarily concerned with the death of a French archaeologist whom he saw just before he died. Linking Yashim with this death would tarnish his reputation and diminish his effectiveness as an investigator. As Yashim investigates the murders he finds himself trapped in the waterworks in a pool of cold, cold water. But he is rescued by his friend, the Polish ambassador who helps him unravel some of the tangles surrounding the murders. When the French Archaeologist's wife appears seeking her husband, Yashim finds himself strongly attracted to the beautiful young woman whose insight also helps with the mystery surrounding the murders. As the story unfolds, the reader discovers that not all of the murders were committed for the same purpose. At heart appears to be a treasure that was hidden during a siege that the archaeologist, his wife and others are hoping to find while others seek to keep it hidden forever.

  • Rachel
    2019-02-19 14:48

    This book was another excellent mystery about Yashim and his adventures in nineteenth century Turkey. I love the attention to detail about Ottoman history (this time it was set right before the death of Sultan)and the cooking done by Yashim through the book just makes your mouth water. This time, the book is set in 1839. Yashim is trying to find out who attached his friend the vegetable seller George, who killed a bookseller in the marketplace and a French archaelogist named Max Lefevre. Yashim meets Lefevre twice before his death and is trying to clear his name after he ends up a suspect in the Frenchman's death. Will Yashim be able to find the killer in time? How is Lord Byron, who died at Missolonghi during the Greek war of Independence, connected to the victim? Read this great second mystery in the Yashim the Eunuch series to find out! 5 stars.

  • Ampersand Inc.
    2019-02-10 16:35

    Sometimes when I read an author I really like I want to read everything they've written. This happened to me with Jason Goodwin's novel The Janissary Tree. Unfortunately that book was book 1… So, this month I read the next 3 books in the series (The Snake Stone, The Bellini Card and An Evil Eye) and am almost finished book 5 (The Baklava Club). The books are set in Istanbul at the time of the Ottoman Empire and the main character is Yashim, a eunuch formerly from the Sultan's harem but given permission to live outside the palace. Yashim gets involved in solving murders and along the way the reader gets some lovely historical background about the time and city, customs, cultures and food (Yashim loves to cook!) The writing moves along briskly and the cast of characters is always a delight.

  • Catherine
    2019-01-31 15:40

    Jason Goodwin's Yashim the Eunuch books are making me hungry! The way he describes Yashim buying food then preparing/cooking the food . . . or getting kebab or pastries at a street vendor or cafe . . . well, I want to drop everything and search for those eggplants or peppers or drop into the patisserie (lol, like we have anything similar in Dallas).Then he tops it off with a good mystery which takes Yashim from Topkapi to Galata to Pera to Balat and describes so well the major sites of Istanbul. The details of them going down into the cisterns was so vivid. There was a lot going on and knowing some more history might have been helpful. I think I need to get another book about the Ottoman Empire.I already have the next book ready to read and hopefully I will enjoy that one too.

  • Mira
    2019-02-06 17:53

    Ein im osmanischen Istanbul spielender Kriminalroman - die Handlung ist mit der Biographie Lord Byrons und der griechischen Unabhängigkeitsgeschichte verknüpft. So weit, so gut - das alles klingt eigentlich sehr vielversprechend - doch das Buch selbst ist eintönig, langweilig, und nicht stringent. Ständig werden neue Charaktere eingeführt, die jedoch ein paar Seiten später schon wieder sterben, und selbst bei der Auflösung bleiben noch viele Fragen ungeklärt. Dieses Buch bietet kein erfüllendes Leseerlebnis, am schönsten sind noch die kulinarischen Beschreibungen, auf den Rest des Buches kann man getrost verzichten.

  • Jaret
    2019-02-19 14:47

    I enjoyed this episode in the Yashim the Eunuch series. I enjoy this author the more I read his work. His writing depicts life during the peak of the Ottoman Empire beautifully. I particularly love the descriptions of food and cooking styles. I will say that his writing style does not clearly wrap up the murder for you with neat bows. There is no "Miss Scarlet killed Mr. Body in the ballroom with the knife" type wrap up. You get a synopsis of what happened and you are expected to put two and two together for yourself. But, I kinda like that. I might have added this mystery up to get 5, but 5 is a nice number, too.

  • Scott Burton
    2019-02-15 16:42

    The first book I read in this series was the Janissary Tree. I enjoyed it more than this one. This novel felt disjointed. There were too many asides that diverted and distracted me. For example, Goodwin clearly enjoys supplying the reader with detailed descriptions of food preparation. Sounded yummy, but I'll read a cookbook if that's what I'm in the mood for. I never felt that the characters were more than props, so I never connected to the characters--even Yashim was much more shallow than in the first. All in all, this tale was a disappointment. I'll give the series another try, but it will be based on my experience with the Janissary Tree rather than the Snake Stone.

  • Cynthia
    2019-02-07 13:33

    I enjoyed this book very much even though I'm not completely sure what happened in it. It's supposed to be a mystery but I'm not sure what the mystery was or what the solution was. But it's really a pleasure to read, wonderful lively descriptions. The characters are interesting but not fully developed; they're more like short story characters, where you just get a quick sketch of just one side of their personalities. But, as I say, still really a good book. Not sure if I'll read another in this series, but I'm interested in reading some nonfiction from this author.

  • Book Lady
    2019-01-25 19:46

    Not a clear mystery story line. A good read for those interested in immersing themselves in another culture, in this case an historical look at an exotic locale. The story is set in Istanbul during the 1830's and features Yashim, a former palace eunuch. It is the second in a series and has very colorful secondary characters. Many fascinating details about the customs, architecture and ethnic groups of this geographical area.

  • Claude
    2019-01-25 13:34

    I found this novel rather difficult to follow, more so than the previous episode. I like the general ambiance, love it when Yashim is cooking, but some of the things that happened were so intricate that I am not sure I understood them. Or maybe it would be more accurate to say that I didn't understand much of the plot. I will however tackle the next episode.

  • notRahimeanymore
    2019-01-31 16:00

    A really excellent series.

  • Bernadette
    2019-02-13 14:53

    finished 2015-02-16. Very much enjoyed and wish there were more than the 3 books in the Yashim series.

  • Jeannie
    2019-02-11 15:33

    I love this series: having been in Istanbul, I can 'see' the places Goodwin describes - and I love the historical detail.

  • Stef Rozitis
    2019-02-11 18:59

    I wanted to enjoy this book because of the lush settings. I think a lot of people will like them and the convoluted plot. I thought, incidentally that the twists in the plot were just enough to make a good detective story if it weren't for some of the other things. I sort of liked Yashim as a character, I liked the idea of a eunich as the main character and at times he was down to earth- focused on food and caring for others and almost relatable. But until half-way through the book women did not appear at all, not as people anyway. They were talked about and filled in the background similar to the dogs and the spices and things like that. They were servants and wives who had to obey and I guess in some sense the author uses the setting to get away with the countless micro-aggressions and casual misogynies in this part of the book and would say that was authentic to the context. But to me it is a matter of focus.And then later in the book women did appear, but Madame Lefevre was somewhat of a sterotype- she was a little too beautiful, a little too devoted, a little too tragic to satisfy. There were also after that some other women who more or less showed some social agency (but generally lived, decided and acted in reference to and in the shadow of some male or another).Another problematic for me was whiteness in the book. Istanbul is presented as exotic, contested, a melting-pot, but there is a benign sort of racism in the way the detail pan out. Little things like when Madame Lefevre goes to the mosque, a white woman invading that space and then her rescuer is the white doctor. The white people (men and the idealised Madame Lefevre) in the book speak most, act most and determine other people's lives most.Once again maybe the racism was in some ways the truth, maybe at times this is how it was - a colonialist attitude. Presenting it as unproblematic though continues it. I didn't enjoy the orientalism and male-centrism of the book. I found there were so many characters I had a lot of trouble keeping all the different characters and bits of story in line and at times the writing was so rich in description that the plot moved very slowly- yet it was convoluted and the conversations at times hard to follow.I personally didn't like this book, although I have many books that were a lot worse. I suspect many people will like it a lot more than I did.

  • Tiffany Barnes
    2019-02-06 16:43

    A tangled mystery I read this book after reading the Janissary Tree and expected it to be similar. It was quite different but still enjoyable. The mystery took 2/3 of the book to unfold and the end was wrapped up very nicely.

  • Kelley
    2019-02-11 19:36

    A good way to visit Istanbul during these uncertain times. Also full of historic tidbits of the area and its inhabitants. The story line didn't grab me .

  • Patricia
    2019-01-26 14:44

    I️ enjoyed this book, the complexity of plot, the insight into a past and exotic city at the juncture of East and West, and of course Yashim, person extraordinaire

  • Debbie Boots
    2019-01-25 14:36

    A bit confusingI do love looking up the words related to the Byzantine and Ottoman cultures. But a bit confusing as a mystery.

  • Maurice
    2019-02-19 18:41

    I loved reading about Istanbul. I will definitely be reading more of these mysteries.

  • Kelsey Burnette
    2019-02-04 17:47

    Yashim is an awesome character. Great detective. And the descriptions of Istanbul and the food Yashim cooks are positively gorgeous. Enjoy!

  • Willem van den Oever
    2019-01-20 18:40

    With ‘The Snake Stone’, author Jason Goodwin shows he’s grown in his storytelling abilities without compromising on the parts which made his previous novel, ‘The Janissary Tree’, such a fascinating read. That plot could’ve been compared to the simplicity of any Dan Brown-like book, while with ‘The Snake Stone’, Goodwin reaches a climax that is so ridiculously dense and overly complicated it might more easily remind one of the works of Raymond Chandler.Set again during the background of a fading Ottoman Empire, we catch up with the eunuch Yashim Togalu after the French archeologist Lefèvre is found murdered near the French ambassy of Istanbul and Yashim turns out to be the only logical suspect for this crime.What is so typical for this novel, is that Yashim isn’t so much worried about imprisonment or the death penalty or his supposed deed, but rather the damage this implication might do to his carefully crafted reputation amongst his friends both high and low. It shows the delicacy with which the people within Goodwin’s Istanbul live.The same can be said about Goodwin’s writing which, as stated, is as good if not better than his previous novel. Each bit is build up through numerous details, interesting set-ups or unusual vantage points. The short chapters sometimes read like they are studies of great romantic paintings: Polish ambassador Palevski standing in front of his window, overlooking the sunset and thinking about his friend Yashim; a small, intimate bookstand amongst the chaos that makes up the Turkish markets; a look inside the palace harem where the women wait for news on the impending death of their sultan.At times when the primary plot of the murder isn’t as engaging or exciting as it maybe should have been, it’s these looks into the lives lived in Istanbul that bring the town and its characters to life wonderfully, like taking a stroll through the history of this town oneself.Equal praise should be given for the fact that Goodwin brings back most of the characters of ‘The Janissary Tree’, but shows that time has passed for them as well. They’ve grown, evolved, changed, adapted or have fallen farther behind since the last time the reader has seen them.While ‘The Snake Stone’ might not work so well as a stand-alone novel, though it surely can be read as such, it is an appropriate follow-up and a wonderful piece of work.

  • Shippseattle
    2019-01-22 20:49

    The captivating return of Yashim, the eunuch investigator from the intelligent, elliptical and beguilingly written" (The Times, London)...more [close] The captivating return of Yashim, the eunuch investigator from the intelligent, elliptical and beguilingly written" (The Times, London) bestseller The Janissary TreeWhen a French archaeologist arrives in 1830s Istanbul determined to track down a lost Byzantine treasure, the local Greek communities are uncertain how to react; the man seems dangerously well informed. Yashim Togalu, who so brilliantly solved the mysterious murders in The Janissary Tree, is once again enlisted to investigate. But when the archaeologist’s mutilated body is discovered outside the French embassy, it turns out there is only one suspect: Yashim himself.The New York Times celebrated The Janissary Tree as “the perfect escapist mystery,” and The Daily Telegraph called it “[A] tremendous first novel . . . Beautifully written, perfectly judged, humane, witty and captivating.” With The Snake Stone, Jason Goodwin delights us with another transporting romp through the back streets of nineteenth-century Istanbul. Yashim finds himself racing against time once again, to uncover the startling truth behind a shadowy society dedicated to the revival of the Byzantine Empire, encountering along the way such vibrant characters as Lord Byron’s doctor and the sultan’s West Indies–born mother, the Valide. Armed only with a unique sixteenth-century book, the dashing eunuch leads us into a world where the stakes are high, betrayal is death—and the pleasure to the reader is immense. [close] date added 06-03-07 edit book

  • Tony
    2019-01-29 12:48

    THE SNAKE STONE. (2007). Jason Goodwin. ****.This was the second installment in the series of adventures featuring Investigator Yashim. As in the initial volume, “The Janissary Tree,” the action is set in Istanbul. What sets this series apart from other detective novels is the fact that Yashim is a eunuch, and a former member of the Sultan’s court. In return for doing the sultan a big favor (see the author’s previous novel) Yashim now has free run of the city and is a privileged member of the palace. Like you find in most detective novels, you usually get the grand tour of the city in which the detective works. This is also true of this series; Istanbul comes alive through the obvious enthusiasm that the author has for its history – the series is set in the mid-nineteenth century. In this episode, Yashim is called on to discover the criminal behind the killing by disembowelment of a lowly shopkeeper in the bazaar. Soon other bodies appear, and Yashim is forced to follow up on a variety of leads before he finally discovers the right ones. As in most crime novels, the real reason for the murders is money – but there are other influencing reasons involved. The effects of history play a big role in the drama, particularly the relationship between the Greek and Turkish populations. This is another good read from Goodwin that will likely get you searching on Google for several of his references. Recommended.