The Belly Dancer – Margaret Halliday

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?  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 because  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 story 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 is Margaret Halliday’s fourth book, and my favourite so far.

Available as a paperback and an eBook from Amazon UK.


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