Instead of those wooden dolls that nest one inside the other, Michael Dibdin creates a story line, which offers not only a variety of possible solutions, but also an unknown number of suspects and motives. And just like the dolls I mention, until you open the final one, you don't know how many there are, or what finally lies in the nest's core.
I have read the bookends of the Aurelio Zen series by this talented author, firstly his newest "Blood Rain", and the inaugural book in the series "Ratking". Although I cannot yet comment on the installments that reside between these two books, unlike some ongoing character based novels, the last was as good as the first.
One of Mr. Dibdin's great talents is his ability to sustain the unknown, or the uncertainty of the solution to his books to the very end. He does not use crude blind alleys or other cliché slights of hand with his pen, rather he brings the reader along with Aurelio, seeing what he sees, but not limiting the reader to only what the Inspector may feel. There is no blatant misdirection, which by definition fools no one; Mr. Dibdin is much more subtle. In, "Ratking", he constructs a Gordian Knot, of rat tails/tales, and unlike the Ratking the book describes, he unravels his construct with a self deprecating flair.
Unlike other authors he does not throw open a curtain and hope for the expected gasp, he entertains throughout his work. His novels are wonderfully complete, and amazingly brief. His stories are not based on one clever thought that is then pulled and stretched to novel length. His stories are finished, and written with a disciplined hand.
This author has no need for gimmicks; he is a master with a pen, a wordsmith of the first order.