Gemma, a young English woman, finds herself involved in more than just teaching English soon after her arrival in Turkey.
Her love of belly dancing leads her into a relationship with the beautiful Fatima – and a Mafia-run drugs operation. Does Fatima really have an identical twin?Â Is the handsome, wealthy Can a hero or a bad boy? And where does Gemma fit in to all this…
The story, part love story, part thriller, unfolds against a vivid backdrop of Istanbul in the early 1990s.
For me, the highlight of The Belly Dancer, is in the authentic, descriptive way that Margaret Halliday brings alive the setting: Turkish culture, history and heritage, as well as the modern day street life, baths, clubs and food…I felt I was there, in this rich backdrop, as the story happened around me.
Istanbul is almost a character in its own right, ‘trip fiction’ at its best, especially becauseÂ Â it’s the Istanbul of winter rather than the hot, sticky summers we might expect.
That said, the plot line holds up, too. It’s not a complicated thriller – if cosy mysteries are a thing, The Belly Dancer is something of a cosy thriller, a storyÂ I can visualise as a TV film – but it doesn’t need to be complicated. The novel is engaging, the characters are likeable (and the ones we are expected to dislike are suitably dislike-able!) and I enjoyed reading it – which I did quickly.
The Belly Dancer isÂ Margaret Hallidayâ€™s fourth book, and my favourite so far.
Available as a paperback and an eBook from Amazon UK.