A Long Finish: An Aurelio Zen Mystery

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9780375404290: A Long Finish: An Aurelio Zen Mystery

Ratking, Vendetta, Cabal, Dead Lagoon, Così Fan Tutti--in each of these masterfully suspenseful and atmospheric novels we have met Michael Dibdin's Italian Criminalpol officer Aurelio Zen. Intelligent and urbane (if a little weary), Zen galvanizes us not only with his ability to solve the most intractable crimes but also with his methodology. He is both devious and moral, a slave to the status quo and original in his thinking, amused by his own tor-
por and surprised by his drive. Now, in The Long Finish, he is driven by something new: a steely
instinct for self-preservation coupled with a love
of good food and wine.
After a riotous and heroic stint in Naples, Zen is back in Rome, meeting with a world-famous film director at the instruction of his superiors. In the privacy of a remarkably well stocked wine cellar, the director--whose influence clearly reaches beyond the entertainment industry--convinces Zen to arrange for the release of the scion of an important wine-growing family, who has been jailed for the murder of his own father. At stake for the director, a connoisseur of Piedmontese wines, is this year's vintage: only the jailed man can ensure the timely harvesting of his family's precious grapes. At stake for Zen: avoiding a posting to the dreaded Sicily.
In Alba--an outwardly serene village set among rolling hills that are planted with vines for as far as the eye can see--Zen discovers that only spilled blood can separate a family from its land. And though murder here is rare, it is complex. But at least it's accompanied by heaping plates of pasta, generous shavings of white truffles, and bottomless glasses of wine. If only Zen can keep his policing skills as sharp as his palate is pampered. . . .

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Review:

Fresh from the successful investigation of a series of crimes in Naples, that admirably devious and dour Italian police inspector Aurelio Zen returns to his office in Rome to discover that a new set of bureaucrats is in power--with plans to punish him for his success by sending to him Sicily to fight the Mafia. Fate, in the form of a powerful film director, offers a way out: Zen is to go instead to Piedmont, where the murder of a noted winemaker--apparently by his son and heir--threatens the future of one of the film director's favorite vintages. Even though Zen is a Venetian by birth and drinks "fruity, fresh vino sfuso from the Friuli intended to be consumed within the year" as the director sarcastically notes, he can still see how important the case can be to his future--especially if it keeps him away from deadly Sicily. Not only wine but also truffles are involved in a growing series of murders in the area around Alba, and Michael Dibdin (an English writer who lives in Seattle but must spend lots of time in Italy) once again manages to capture the heart, soul, and stomach of the region. Zen, whose personal life is gradually revealed and expanded in each book in the series, finds out several surprising things about being a father in this one. Previous Zen encounters: Cosi Fan Tutti, Dead Lagoon, Ratking, Vendetta. --Dick Adler

From the Back Cover:

"Dibdin belongs to that hierarchy of innovative stylists who make it a point of honor never to repeat a single trick." --The New York Times Book Review

"Dibdin has an ear for prose that is rare in the crime genre....[a] soaring imagination." --Washington Times

"[Dibdin's] work deserves comparison with such . . . giants as Raymond Chandler." --The Portland Oregonian

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