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Cabal (Aurelio Zen 03) [Paperback]

Michael Dibdin
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
RRP: 7.99
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Book Description

30 Dec 2010 Aurelio Zen 03
Michael Dibdin's gripping Italian mysteries, Ratking, Vendetta and Cabal, have been repackaged to tie in with the primetime BBC One feature length dramas, starring Rufus Sewell as detective Aurelio Zen.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber; Tie-In edition (30 Dec 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 057127062X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571270620
  • Product Dimensions: 12.6 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 234,946 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Michael Dibdin was born in 1947. He went to school in Northern Ireland, and later to Sussex University and the University of Alberta in Canada. He lived in Seattle. After completing his first novel, The Last Sherlock Holmes Story, in 1978, he spent four years in Italy teaching English at the University of Perugia. His second novel, A Rich Full Death, was published in 1986. It was followed by Ratking in 1988, which won the Gold Dagger Award for the Best Crime Novel of the year and introduced us to his Italian detective - Inspector Aurelio Zen. In 1989 The Tryst was published to great acclaim and was followed by Vendetta in 1990, the second story in the Zen series. Dirty Tricks was published in 1991. Inspector Zen made his third appearance in Cabal, which was published in 1992. The Dying of the Light, an Agatha Christie pastiche, was published in 1993. His fourth Zen novel, Dead Lagoon, was published the following year. His next novel, Dark Spectre, was published in 1995. Two more Zen novels followed: Cosi Fan Tutti, set in Naples, was published in 1996 and A Long Finish was published in 1998. Blood Rain, the seventh Zen novel, was published in 1999. Thanksgiving was published in 2000, with the eighth Zen, And Then You Die, appearing in 2002. Aurelio Zen returned in Medusa, in August 2003, and then again in Back to Bologna in 2005. His last novel, End Games, was published posthumously in July 2007.

Product Description


"Beautifully written. . . . An excellent thriller." --"The Wall Street Journal""Dibdin has a gift for shocking the unshockable reader." --Ruth Rendell"The kind of wry, sly morality tale only a writer at the top of his game could bring off successfully." --"The Philadelphia Inquirer" --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Book Description

BBC One's lavish new crime series from the producers of DCI Banks and Wallander.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
63 of 67 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars For now the tour of Italy is complete 18 Feb 2003
By taking a rest HALL OF FAME
"Cabal" was the last of the Aurelio Zen mysteries that I had not read. Now that I have, I can state the body of work taken as a whole is great. As in any group of books some are stronger than others, but none will disappoint. About the only complaint I have is that some of the individual works could have been of greater length. Some were perfectly finished in their relatively brief form, but some like "Cabal", could have benefited from having more time to tell their story.

Mr. Dibdin is a great writer, and I have read all but one of his non "Aurelio" books, and they too are worthwhile. I have reviewed them all, so I will minimize general comments here. I read the books out of sequence, and while there were some references to previous books, there was nothing so fundamental that it detracted from whatever book I was reading. I actually started with "Blood Rain" which is the newest of Mr. Dibdin's works.

The series takes place all over Italy, and "Cabal" takes place primarily in Rome with the central event, taking place at The Vatican. In addition to the intrigue that often surrounds stories of this small Country, Mr. Dibdin adds the Knights Of Malta, The Cabal, and centuries old Families of Italy to this mystery. The contemporary world of Italian Fashion, Aurelio girlfriend's moonlighting, and Aurelio's temptations to a darker side when he feels he is loosing his girl, all make for fun reading, although I believe with more time the book could have developed more completely. There was a great deal happening in this book, and it feels as though it was compressed into its final size.

Mr. Dibdin is a great writer, and this series is without qualification reading time well spent. I hope you enjoy them as much as I have.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars not quite my cup of espresso 20 Jun 2013
The first Italian detective many of us came across, well me anyway. It is a while since I read Ratking and Cosi Fan Tutti. This story involves the suspicious death of an Italian prince in the Vatican. The story is full of twists and turns worthy of its byzantine setting (wrong reference I know but you understand the image). The hero Aurelio Zen is plunged into the middle of this business, within the order of Malta and at its centre the mysterious Cabal. This was not an easy read the style is a little verbose for me. It was a good story and I stuck with it but I prefer Inspector Motalbano and Commisario Brunetti and I have Chief Superintendant Michele Ferrara waiting in the wings.
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25 of 28 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An excellent addition to Zen's carrier. 28 Mar 2001
By A Customer
This is a first-class addition to Michael Dibdin's series. Our hero is drawn into all the intrigue you would expect to find surrounding the Vatican. Be warned however Zen is not your standard 'hero', rather he is a hard working but 'got here by accident' kind of detective. This book gives us some wonderful insights into his slightly 'down at heel' character and is wonderful in every aspect. Buy this book, and all the others - compulsive reading.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Cabal 15 Mar 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is the third book in the series featuring Aurelio Zen, a detective from Venice. Each book is set in a different location, in this case Rome, since the cabal in question is thought to be a secret society operating within the Vatican. This review contains a mild spoiler concerning Zen’s love life.

The starting point is the death of Prince Ludovico Ruspanti, who falls a hundred and fifty feet to his death in the chapel at St. Peter's in Rome. Zen is invited to investigate the death. Though the Italian police have no jurisdiction within the Vatican, the church authorities want an outsider to investigate to allay any suspicion that they might have something to do with it.

There is a second line to the plot concerning the relationship between Zen and his lover, Tania Biacis, whom we met in the previous title. With no justification whatsoever, each becomes suspicious of the other, though their misunderstandings are resolved in due course. Tania is a civil servant who, if Dibdin is to believed, is but one of many using her working hours to run a private business. Zen is unaware of this fact, and of the fact that she is actually very well off, and is spending money he can ill afford, but she could, renting a flat for her. The question of Tania’s money arises early in the book, when he sees her wearing an expensive outfit by the famous designer, Falco (Falcone). When he learns how successful she is, it spurs his competitive instinct, but his attempt to make money backfires badly.

The plot is complex and the standard of writing very high, as is always the case with this author. While the death of Ruspanti is well explained (as are the two subsequent deaths) I felt there were two weaknesses.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another great mystery with Aurelio Zen 24 May 2004
One dark night in November, Prince Ludovico Ruspanti falls a hundred and fifty feet to his death in St Peter’s basilica in Rome. But there are a number of questions to be answered: what was he doing in the Vatican? Why was he being followed? Did he fall or was he pushed? The papal authorities contact the Criminalpol and so Inspector Aurelio Zen is put on the case.
As Zen investigated deeper into the mystery of Ruspanti’s death, he finds witness after witness strangely silenced by death. Zen soon discovers that he will never crack the case until he has penetrated the most secret of all secret societies -–the Cabal.
The combination between an intriguing twistiness of the mystery story and sharply angled perspectives on contemporary Italy is simply superb.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Published 11 days ago by Terence Owen Pitron
5.0 out of 5 stars michael dibden zen series
out of the Zen books I have read I enjoy this one the most and recommend it to the Zen fans who havnt yet read it
Published 27 days ago by nettie
3.0 out of 5 stars Laborious
I had read another book by the same author (Ratking) which I enjoyed so I had no hesitation in selecting this one. Read more
Published 5 months ago by IanL
1.0 out of 5 stars Fan Of The Books? Forget this, then ...
I only watched the first one.
The characters were all mixed up. The plot was so different from the book you would hardly credit it. Read more
Published 6 months ago by RogTheDog
5.0 out of 5 stars Zen starts to develop
Cabal sees Zen unwillingly drawn into Vatican intrigue. The character detail starts to develop in this novel as Dibden paints the backstory of a corrupt set of institutions and a... Read more
Published 7 months ago by Amazon Customer
3.0 out of 5 stars Fairly typical Zen novel
I am afraid I never find the Zen character quite convincing. He is supposed to be Italian and it is set in Italy but there is no Italian "feel" to it at all.
Published 8 months ago by austral
4.0 out of 5 stars Up to the Usual Standard
A good story, with believable characters, plenty of intrigue with good pace throughout. A real page turner. Read more
Published 8 months ago by MR PETER ELLIS
5.0 out of 5 stars A master at work
You plunge straight into Zen's Italian crime-world. Gripping in its intensity, its atmosphere and its understanding of character: this is a masterpiece and I read and re-read it.
Published 8 months ago by Fred Everett
3.0 out of 5 stars Confused
Have one or two of these in paperback. This is the first one I have actually read and I'm hoping that if I read those I might make sense of this. Read more
Published 9 months ago by peter elmer
3.0 out of 5 stars OK, but could have been better
This was an OK read, fairly well put together.
The main problem was that some of the elements of the
story were beyond belief. Read more
Published 9 months ago by clemi
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