Superb. If you've not read Dibdin, yet consider yourself a connoseur of crime fiction, you must rectify the situation: he's one of the greatest alive. No question.
A Long Finish is the sixth Zen, but do not start here. Go back to the beginning, to Ratking, and then simply chomp your way through the series, looking forward to this particular little gem (my favourite so far). In it we see Zen sent to Piedmont. He would be posted to Sicily, were it not for the influence of someone who wants a very important matter straightening out: the head of a wine-making family has been murdered, his son arrested and charged with the crime. The person-of-influence wants only one thing: the son released (innocent or not), so that the vines can be harvested and the year's vintage produced. Zen is the man for the job. So, off he goes, glad to escape the prospect of Sicily, a posting he has been dreading.
These Zen novels are brilliant. I've only discovered them in the past few months, but Dibdin's already become one of my new favourite authors (Rankin, Connelly, Dibdin, in the male-crime-writing stakes, probably). Zen is such a marvellous character, cunning and cynical, desperately self-serving at times, and yet (as she shows in this book), he has a sometimes-inconvenient (and foolish!) heart. He's witty, charming, sly, a unique creation.
Dibdin's writing suits his character perfectly: it too is cynical, sly, cunning, clever, and yet heart-felt. It's also, at times, hilarious (one characters eats in a restaurant and then "proceeded to damn the meal with praise so faint as to be virtually imperceptible").
I raced through this book in a day. The plot moves quickly (and is less convoluted than in his earliest Zen novels), the cahracters are fascinated and hugely entertaining, and the conclusion is, well, a triumph of restrained barbarism. I enjoyed it hugely. Hugely.