The Turks say that Istanbul is like a prostitute – beautiful, but dangerous.
I decided to portray the intensely stimulating mix of beauty and danger, which so characterises Istanbul, in my novel “Evil Eye.”
The day-dreamy heroine, Celeste, is dragged into a mysterious adventure of threats, violence and narrow escapes which makes its way though gold-filled palaces, the dazzling colours and heady scents of the bazaars, the eerie old harem packed with jewels and opium hookahs, the mosques lit by shafts of sunlight and, of course, the deep blue bosphorus which flows through the heart of the city.
I lived in Istanbul for a year when I had just finished university, in the attic room of a beautiful old mansion overlooking the Bosphorus. The call to prayer, from a minaret right outside my bedroom window, blared out so loudly each dawn that I sprang to my feet suffering a near heart-attack. Then, every day, my senses would be bombarded by the colours, noises, smells and the crowds of people rushing through their busy days.
Like Celeste in my novel, I was thrown in at the deep end in Istanbul. I was naive but plucky. I survived being held at gunpoint, being mugged, and even a bout of cholera. Yet the sheer beauty of Istanbul always made up for it.
These photos show some of the places in Istanbul where “Evil Eye” unfolds. They include a couple of pictures of me as a very young lady.
Evil Eye by Veronica Di Grigoli
Istanbul beckons Celeste Hamilton like a siren. Entranced by the misty city of mosques, bazaars, and palaces, her dream adventure in this city, split by the sparkling blue sea, soon turns into a nightmare.
A web of deceit pulls Celeste from bright, sunlit streets into shady back alleys along the ancient Bosphorus. Without understanding, she’s stumbled onto a villainous secret. Her landlady lets slip puzzling comments that don’t make sense. The sinister charms and dark magic spells she places in Celeste’s room are horrifying.
Then, the morose caretaker of the orphanage where Celeste volunteers starts staring at Celeste’s beloved boys like a vulture sizing up its next meal. When Celeste’s favourite boy goes missing, Celeste discovers that she herself is the target of a dark plot.
Can Celeste save the child – and herself – before someone destroys her?
Evil Eye is available in Kindle and paperback formats from Amazon stores worldwide.