Murder in the Grand Bazaar: An Intellectual Thriller

Miles Nilsson Fowler

Publisher: Prosthetic God Publishing Pages: 160 Price: (paperback) $9.99 ISBN: 9798218291211 Reviewed: May, 2024 Author Website: Visit »

Miles Nilsson Fowler’s Murder in the Grand Bazaar is an historical thriller involving Felix Markarian, an American professor and biblical scholar who travels to Turkey to authenticate a controversial Christian codex.

It’s 1997, and Ahmet Tatlik, a Turkish antiquities dealer, has just purchased an ancient Coptic Christian text and smuggled it out of Egypt. He lingers around Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar, an ancient enclosed mall, waiting to meet Markarian. A knife-wielding stranger approaches Tatlik, kills him, and absconds with the codex.

Meanwhile, Markarian awaits Tatlik, unaware he’s been murdered. Two Turkish police investigators inform Markarian about Tatlik’s death and ask him to help in their investigation. When a composite drawing is released, it shows a resemblance to Investigator Mustafa Demir, causing Markarian uneasiness — especially because he was intimate with Demir the previous evening and “tended to forget about self-preservation when he met someone who appealed to him.”

Demir and several thugs whisk Markarian from his hotel. They bring him to Viktor Ivanenko, a Russian oligarch who invites Markarian to share his expertise about the stolen codex. What follows is an extensive explanation of an expanded version of The Gospel According of Mark, a set of writings about Jesus that could undermine Christian belief.

The novella’s comprehensive analysis of “expanded Mark” is edifying, and its intelligence and inferences are impressive. Some familiarity with Christianity is useful to appreciate these accomplishments and the potential apostasy inherent in the codex. Christian scholarship consumes a sizable portion of this novella. While this specificity will appeal to readers interested in religious study, it limits the elements necessary for a suspenseful thriller. For instance, Ivanenko is described as a “monster” and “criminal mastermind,” yet no scenes or exposition illustrate this villainy, and Tatlik’s murder is easily attributable.

Although this story is more cerebral than cryptic, more delicate than dangerous, it’s skillfully written and lays the groundwork for a welcome sequel.

Also available as an ebook.

Author's Current Residence
Charlottesville, Virginia
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