The cover of my edition, and the blurb on the cover do not do the book any favors. When I picked it up at the library, I was expecting something pretty silly.
Then I saw that the author's academic background and personal history make it likely that he really knows his stuff when it comes to life in 19th century Istanbul.
In the end it turned out to be a fun Agatha Christie style mystery with a main protagonist who's as laid back as Hercule Poirot, a very well created setting and ... recipes. I thought the recipes were a bit of a gimmick at first, but some of them sounded really tasty and after all, why not?