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Medusa (An Aurelio Zen Mystery) Paperback – 5 Aug 2004


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Frequently Bought Together

Medusa (An Aurelio Zen Mystery) + Back to Bologna (Aurelio Zen 10) + And Then You Die (Aurelio Zen 08)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber; Reprint edition (5 Aug. 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0571219853
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571219858
  • Product Dimensions: 11.1 x 1.8 x 17.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 257,986 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

Amazon Review

Michael Dibdin's likeable Italian cop Aurelio Zen has, by his appearance in the new Medusa, had more than enough of the deceit that passes for civil society; this is a new, darker Zen. When the corpse of a young officer who supposedly died in a plane crash 30 years ago turns up in a remote mountain tunnel, the rival agencies of the Italian state gear up to discredit each other over crimes long forgotten. Zen takes the case partly to obey his orders to help stitch up his boss's rivals in the security services, partly because he wants to get a modicum of justice done. This long-ago death is not going to be the last, as Zen and others race around gathering or destroying evidence; the solution to what happened all those years ago turns out to be both poignant and ingenious, and to symbolise just how even the nastier idealisms of the militarist far right can be subverted for quite sordid motives.

Like all of Dibdin's books, part of what makes us care is a vivid sense of what foggy streets smell like, or of the delicate sounds of a near-silent remote country hide-out, and part is Zen, a battered moralist who solves cases and then decides on what might be the right thing to do. --Roz Kaveney

Review

"'Crime writers don't get much better than Michael Dibdin.' Independent; 'Michael Dibdin is a Milton, it would seem, to Conan Doyle's Shakespeare.' Daily Telegraph; 'Zen is back at the height of his powers.' Scotsman"

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Pardo VINE VOICE on 17 Jan. 2011
Format: Paperback
Michael Dibdin's Aurelio Zen series got a bit uneven towards the end but although this book is sandwiched between And Then You Die (Aurelio Zen 08) and Back to Bologna (Aurelio Zen 10) (in my opinion the two weakest books in the series) Medusa is one of the very best of the bunch.

The story is excellent, and certainly more complex and enjoyable than either of the books written either side of it, but what really marks this book out is the quality of the writing. Much of the book takes place in cold dank foggy landscapes and you can almost feel the fog around you as you read.

There are also a number of lines that have stayed with me over the many years since I first read the book - one of my favourites comes from a character who is out in a deserted rural landscape in the middle of the night. He remembers that as a child in the 1950s he would regularly cycle off around the country and if he hadn't got back home before dark he would simply sleep out under a tree and go home in the morning. He reflects that today that if a child hadn't returned by nightfall its parents would have the police out scouring the area looking for it and notes that in his youth "life was hard but safe, today it is soft but fearful."

I would also point out to anyone coming to Dibdin's work as a result of the BBC Zen series should note that Dibdin's Zen is a little more self-serving and ethically ambiguous than Rufus Sewell's. I really enjoyed the TV series but think it is fair to say that they are "based on" Dibdin's books rather than a totally faithful interpretation.
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43 of 44 people found the following review helpful By Carlo Vennarucci on 29 Aug. 2003
Format: Hardcover
Michael Dibdin’s latest Italian mystery featuring Aurelio Zen is superb. This is his 9th in the Zen series and the best since ‘Dead Lagoon’ was published in 1994. In his past Zen thrillers, Dibdin set each novel in a different location in Italy, e.g. Umbria, Sardinia, Venice, Naples, and Sicily, to name a few. Other mystery series writers pick a single location, i.e., Donna Leon sets her Commissario Brunetti series in Venice and Magdalen Nabb’s Marshal Guarnaccia series is Florence-based.
Well, MEDUSA is set in six different regions of Northern Italy. The plot centers around a body, buried for thirty years in a cave in the Dolomites; Zen works out of Rome, but lives in Lucca with his ladyfriend, Gemma from the last book; the main characters were associated with the military in the 1970s and now live in Milan, Verona, Campione (near Lugano) and a rural area near Pesaro in the Marche region. Inspector Zen is one busy guy traveling from place to place to solve this one.
Zen works for the Polizia di Stato under the Interior Ministry, who are always in competition with the Carabinieri under the Defence Ministry. Dibdin does a great job of setting up this adversary situation to its fullest. Zen is trying to solve the mystery while the Carabinieri is trying to bury the facts from becoming public. This novel is very contemporary with many barbs directed toward Silvio Berlusconi and his current government. The plot is fast-moving and intriguing. In this one, Zen is all business and at his best, with his personal life taking a backseat, for a change.
- by Carlo Vennarucci
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Judith E. A. Davies on 19 Feb. 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I don't think I would have found the Zen books if they had not been on TV. The stories demand your attention, they are not flimsy quick reads, but the tale is well planned, the working of the Italian police sufficiently explained, altogether a good read
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Banjanx on 8 Sept. 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This was a disappointment. Headlined as an Aurelio Zen "mystery", there was nothing mysterious about it. Bad guys were telegraphed, and even the motivation was fairly obvious (minus a minor quirk) from the start. Not up to the earlier Zens. I assume this is later Dibdin and he was tiring. Not a bad book, but nothing special.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By bookie on 24 Mar. 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Again a good story and well written, but oh the typos. I am fed up with seeing ¬ in the middle of words. Please someone sort this out.
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I have only recently started reading Michael Dibden's Aurelio Zen novels, following on from the recent TV treatments starring Rufus Sewell.
Dibden is a brilliant writer, so expressive, great characterisation and detective plots. Also plenty of subtle ironic humour, and one learns a lot more about Italy, the geography, social habits, food and wine.
MEDUSA is the best I've read so far, with a complex but pleasing plot drawing Zen 30 years back into a band of retired Italian Special Services Military types who were up to no good then, and are being bumped off in dark places and circumstances now. Even Silvio Berlusconi gets several mentions, bless him!
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22 of 28 people found the following review helpful By HORAK on 11 Jun. 2004
Format: Hardcover
This case takes inspector Aurelio Zen to the Dolomites to the site where a body has been found in an abandoned military tunnel. With the help of Rudi Redel, Zen treads carefully to the place where the supposed suicide took place. However, evidence shows that other people must have been present in the tunnel so Zen must assume that a murder cannot be excluded. The situation becomes even more intricate when the still unidentified body is stolen from the morgue at the Defence Ministry!
All the usual ingredients in Mr Dibdin's latest murder mystery: excellent suspense, a sympathetic Aurelio Zen (with a new girlfriend!) and plenty of ironical and amusing observations about our beloved Italy.
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