This week’s play centered on the player that had been absent last week, and the introduction of a new player into the group. Most of the evening was character interaction, with the leader of the crew — Zara — going to a swanky jazz club, Maxim, for the evening with an old boyfriend. She encounters the new character, John Hunter, an agent of Terra Arcanum who has been tasked with keeping Dr. Gould safe and out of the wrong hands…

Maxim was a popular jazz joint near the embassies in the Pera District (Pera Palace was the most ritzy of the hotels, at the time), a section of Istabul that was also known for being a bit “rough”, much like the International Settlement of Shanghai. In many ways, the two cities parallel each other at this time: high levels of new immigration, with those populations being refugees from Russia (and after 1933, Germany and Eastern Europe.) The big players in the underground are White Russians, and Jewish refugees from various places. Maxim was run by an American black man, the son of Mississippi slaves who had emigrated to Russia, then fled to Turkey, where he wound up running the club.

We had it as the cynosure of jazz and expatriate culture — American and German performers, the infamous Greek opuim kings — the Eliopoulous brothers, Jewish academics recently arrived from Germany… During the course of the evening, Zara encounters Pavel Rabinowitz, the head of the ring that aided the other players last week, and Olga, the knout-weilding Ukrainian girl. He was doing her the courtesy of letting her know the boys were alive and well, and what they were up to.

Eventually, during the course of play, Hunter was able to gain enough trust to be invited along for the ride, and to my surprise, they also decided to enlist Olga in their exploits.

Next up — plane trips, India, and Tibet!