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Talking Turkey

I’ve written two mysteries (so far) set in Turkey. Both were written after a trip there inspired ideas for stories, but in both cases, I found I needed a return visit to clear up some details.

For instance, in The Man on the Istanbul Train, I needed to know what the doors on the trains were like: Could a passenger open one himself? Could you open a door and jump out while the train was moving? Did they have private berths in sleeping cars? On a return trip to Istanbul, I visited Hadarpasa Station and got answers to these questions.

Later, in writing Death in Istanbul, I spent a lot of time writing a thrilling chase scene through the Hadarpasa Station, then read that the station burned down only a few months after I was there. In an obsessive attempt at total accuracy, I re-wrote the whole thing, taking the action to another railway station miles away. I reasoned that thousands of my dear readers would go to Turkey and try to follow in the footsteps of Dotsy and friends. Ha!

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In the past few years, Hadarpasa Station has been closed for repairs, reopened, closed again for renovation, opened again, closed again to add tracks for a new high-speed train to Ankara, and reopened. Depending on when you read this, you may or may not be able to visit Hadarpasa Station.

Here is a picture of the baggage claim in Ataturk Airport, the start of all the trouble in Death in Istanbul.

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