Setting Is Crucial In A Detective Story

EMRAH SERBES, WHOSE TWO NOVELS PUBLISHED UNDER THE TITLE, AN ANKARA DETECTIVE STORY, WHICH INSPIRED THE TELEVISION SERIES BEHZAT Ç., HAS ADDED TWO NEW NOVELS TO THE SERIES.

What is the meaning of setting in a detective novel?
Setting in a detective story is not a decorative element. This is true of all books, of course, but to my mind setting is a little more important in a detective novel, because the scene is part and parcel of the crime in question. When I say ‘scene’ I don’t just mean a train or a room. The city in which the story is set also affects the scene of the crime and therefore the texture of events. A crime story set in the countryside is very different from one set in a big city.

More than Behzat Ç., the main character in the crime novels you write seems to be Ankara itself. Why did you choose Ankara as the setting for your detective stories?
I asked myself that question when I started writing the novels. Why do these stories take place in Ankara and not in some other city? It’s hard to write something like this nowadays when all cities have started to look alike. But there is also this: We aren’t going to give up writing about Ankara just because it’s not the Ankara it used to be.

When did you come to know Ankara?
I came to Ankara in 2003 as a student. I lived in Ankara a total of six years while I studied in the Theater Department of the Ankara University School of Language, History and Geography.

What did living in the capital add to your life?
I divide my life now into before I came to Ankara and after. It added a lot. It was in Ankara that I decided to stay home and write a book. Among the cities I’ve seen, Ankara is the only city where one can live a solitary life right in the middle of the big city bustle.

When did you become a fan of Gençlerbirliği soccer club?
That started in almost the same years. Gençlerbirliğı has a fan base among students and intellectuals, and I decided to join them as a person who was in the habit of going to a match every weekend.

TWO BOOKS ONE PROTAGONIST
Emrah Serbes has written two detective novels in which Behzat Ç. is the protagonist: Every Touch Leaves a Trace and The Final Excavation.

DETECTIVE NOVELS IN TURKEY AND THE WORLD
There’s nothing to be said about Agatha Christie. She will always be number one. But Swedish detective novels, especially Stieg Larsson’s Millennium Trilogy, have been extremely popular in recent months. Among the Turkish writers, Ahmet Ümit, Celil Oker, Alper Canıgüz, Murat Menteş and Esmahan Aykol are the most widely read.

MUST-DO’S IN ANKARA
“First I would tell them to go to one of those venues on Sakarya Caddesi where they throw up some tables on the sidewalk. I would recommend that they drink tea in Ulus, that they climb up the Çıkrıkçılar Yokuşu to the Kale (Ankara Castle) and that they go to Pirinç Han.”