The Tefrika (serial fiction) collection of Koç University Press brings to modern readers the serial novels and writers that left their mark on a period of Turkish literature. The latest addition to the collection is the novel Victim to Unknown Forces.
The novel deals with the “crocodile pin murder” that has been committed in a house full of eyewitnesses in a locked room that no one had access to. Will İhsan Avni, who is appointed to the case by the Sultan succeed in solving this enigmatic murder committed by unknown culprits?
Selim Nüzhet Gerçek’s novel Victim to Unknown Forces was published in 24 installments in the İleri newspaper between November 13 and December 7, 1922, and it contains fantastic elements such as Egyptian civilization and shadowy forces. But it is also a work of a crime genre focusing on the solving of a mysterious murder. Gerçek originally this serialized novel under the pseudonym Ahmet Kâmil, and this is the first time that it is published in book form.
“Gerçek is known as ‘the first historian of the Turkish press,’ ‘the first director of compilation’ and he has conducted pioneering work in the history of the press and theater, but his undiscovered novel Victim to Unknown Forces is not mentioned in the history of literature, and not discussed in any articles about him. (…) It is surprising that Victim to Unknown Forces has been ignored until the present. Yet Selim Nüzhet Gerçek’s work is good specimen of the popular crime genre with a fine plot and set of characters, and it will greatly be appreciated by literary researchers and contemporary readership alike. We believe that the publication in book form of this hitherto undiscovered novel by this versatile intellectual will make a great contribution to Turkish literature.”
Born in Istanbul in 1891, Selim Nüzhet Gerçek graduated from the Lycée Impérial Ottoman de Galata-Sérai (Galatasaray Mekteb-i Sultanisi) and later he pursued his university studies in Switzerland. After his return to the country, he worked as a journalist and translator in the daily papers Yarın and İleri. He taught Turkish language and history courses at Robert College. He became the head of the Directorate of Compilation of Printed Works and Pictures, which was established in 1934 under Atatürk’s orders. The work that he conducted in the Directorate of Compilation was instrumental in the establishment of the National Library of Türkiye after his death. Selim Nüzhet Gerçek conducted the first serious research on the history of journalism, press, and book printing in Türkiye, and he produced many books on these subjects. He passed away on December 12, 1945.
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