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Glossary and Character Taxonomy Breakdown by Country of Origin Bibliography Table of Contents The Best of the Encyclopedia
Avni. Avni was created by Ebüssüreyya Sami and appeared in Amanvermez Avni #1-10 (1913-1914) and a number of stories from 1913 to 1920, beginning with “Yanmis Adam” (1913).
Avni is a Great Detective influenced by Sherlock Holmes and Nick Carter (I). "Amanvermez Avni" (Merciless Avni) is a master detective who solves crimes in Istanbul during the reign of Sultan Abdülhamit II (1876-1909). Avni began as a pickpocket and street urchin, but through hard work and cleverness became a successful and wealthy private detective. Avni is literate, level-headed, reads the papers daily, and can speak and read Turkish, French, Russian, Greek and Armenian like a native. He never fails, and is known to one and all as “the Turkish Sherlock Holmes.” (He is also favorably compared to Emile Gaboriau’s Monsieur Lecoq). Avni is so insightful and such a master of disguise that one doctor calls him a “djinn.” Avni is Watsoned by the faithful Arif, who is much more helpful to Avni than Watson is to Holmes. (In a later story Avni takes on a second apprentice, Andreya). Avni confronts Lupins, murderers, kidnapers, Russian nihilists, and counterfeiters.
Avni appears in stories with titles like “Among Skeletons,” “The Silent Gun,” and “Blind Man’s Bluff.”
* I've included Avni in the Best of the Encyclopedia category because of his historical importance as arguably the archetypal Turkish detective of the era. Amanvermez Avni is a culmination of the Turkish dime novels and Turkish detective stories which preceded it, and Avni himself is the culmination of all the Turkish detectives who came before. But Ebüssüreyya Sami was a skilled writer and knew how to make Avni more memorable than the detectives Avni superseded and better than the detectives who were later created in imitation of Avni. Sami embraced both the Holmes canon and the available Turkish translations of the Nick Carter (I) stories, but incorporated numerous local elements and aspects and attributes, so that it was always clear that Avni was both a Holmesian Great Detective and a very Turkish character, operating in a recognizable Turkey--something many writers of non-English Great Detectives failed to do with their characters.
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