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The Other Eunuch Detectives
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It has come to our attention that there's a second literary eunuch solving mysteries south of the Golden Horn. Mary and I don't mind that Jason Goodwin's Yashim Togalu is following in John's footsteps. 1736 Istanbul, where Yashim works as an intelligence advisor to the Sultan, is centuries removed from sixth century Constantinople where John, the Lord Chamberlain, advises and investigates for Emperor Justinian. However, we do wish reviewers of The Janissary Tree (from Farrar, Straus and Giroux) would refrain from misinforming readers (as some have done) that Yashim is the first eunuch detective.

I suppose we shouldn't complain since we have tended to downplay John's condition. Really, it was just an unfortunate accident. Who knew when we penned our first 2,000 word Byzantine short story that one day we'd be writing novels about the sketchy main character? Our primary intent wasn't to write about a eunuch and we've always feared that stressing John's injury would risk turning him into a freak in the eyes of potential readers. Of course, a freak show probably has sales potential, but that isn't what we want our books to be.

As it happens, John isn't alone in preceding Jason Goodwin's eunuch. Beverle Graves Myers, another Poisoned Pen Press author, writes about the castrato soprano detective Tito Amato in a series set in 18th century Venice.

Probably the misapprehensions of the reviewers stem from the much wider distribution that major publishers enjoy compared to independents like Poisoned Pen. Maybe we should team up with Beverle to set the record straight. How about this for an ad campaign:

John and Tito -- the Other Eunuch Detectives

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