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Ratking [Paperback]

Michael Dibdin
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (57 customer reviews)

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Book Description

5 April 1999
In this masterpiece of psychological suspense, Italian Police Commissioner Aurelio Zen is dispatched to investigate the kidnapping of Ruggiero Miletti, a powerful Perugian industrialist. But nobody much wants Zen to succeed: not the local authorities, who view him as an interloper, and certainly not Miletti's children, who seem content to let the head of the family languish in the hands of his abductors -- if he's still alive.

Was Miletti truly the victim of professionals?  Or might his kidnapper be someone closer to home: his preening son Daniele, with his million-lire wardrobe and his profitable drug business?  His daughter, Cinzia, whose vapid beauty conceals a devastating secret? The perverse Silvio, or the eldest son Pietro, the unscrupulous fixer who manipulates the plots of others for his own ends? As Zen tries to unravel this rat's nest of family intrigue and official complicity, Michael Dibdin gives us one of his most accomplished thrillers, a chilling masterpiece of police procedure and psychological suspense.


From the Trade Paperback edition.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


Product details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber (5 April 1999)
  • ISBN-10: 0571201199
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571201198
  • Product Dimensions: 17.2 x 11.2 x 3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (57 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,031,604 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

Book Description

BBC One's lavish new crime series from the producers of DCI Banks and Wallander. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
65 of 68 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Start of Zen series 19 May 2006
Format:Paperback
Zen is in many ways a classic fictional dectective - middle aged, a loner, problems with relationships and authority. The Italy described is realistic, even in some of the later novels that are more ironic and playful. The characters are more memorable than is usual in dectective stories; suspects appear to have lives beyond their involvement in the events. As with many of the best crime writers, there is always a sense of things just out of vision, matters involving the rich and powerful that are handled in other ways. Not in a 'conspiracy theory' sense, the matters may be more squalid and banal than dangerous, but just because they know people. These are excellent books all round.

Although it is not really necessary to read the novels in order, doing so gives a much better understanding of Zen's evolving relationships with women, family, friends and employers as well as the changing political and cultural landscape of modern Italy.

Ratking unravels the dense knot of relationships binding members of a wealthy family in Perugia where Zen is sent to investigate a kidnapping. He quickly gets lost both in the labrynthine streets of the old city and the lies that the family tell to him and to one another.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Detective & His Country 23 Aug 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
When I watched the TV version of Zen, I thought that it perfectly captured both the feeling of Italy and the understated personality of the man.

It is, though, deliberately different from the books.

On the page, Zen is noticeably less suave and the delivery a little less glib than on the screen. To the credit of Rufus Sewell, this doesn't necessarily make his portrayal of Zen any less convincing. In both the book and on TV, the sepia cast of Italy's less romantic side is equally brilliant.

Having read Cabal as well as Ratking, I think the Zen novels get better as they go along. Dibdin has a direct style but insists on taking you through both the cynical but sure-instincted motivation of the detective while carrying forward a plot which is equivocal yet forceful.

It is probably difficult to concentrate on if you don't have much time but very rewarding when you become immersed in it. On that basis, the further you get into the series, the more rewarding it will get and I certainly intend to try. Thoroughly recommended.
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48 of 53 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The man can do no wrong 17 Dec 1999
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
I usually steer away from books which are described as "another novel featuring ............." but not this series. Aurelio Zen has a stupid name but is probably the most realistic policeman you'll find. He's no angel but he gets the job done. All the books featuring Aurelio Zen are a great read, easy to get into, thrilling from the start and a central character whom one grows to love.Basically, read anything you can get your hands on by Michael Dibdin, you won't be disappointed.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ratking 23 April 2011
Format:Paperback
I was drawn to this book as I enjoyed the "Zen" tv series. The book is only vaguely similar to the tv version and I enjoyed reading it. I have visited Rome on several occasions and can feel the athmosphere and the temperament of the Italian people trough this book. A Very Good Read!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good introduction to the series 20 Jan 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I first became aware of the Zen police stories through the 3 part televison series and wanted to see what the original stories were like.
"Ratking" is the first in the collection and whilst there are similarities, the books (as usaul) provide a far more rounded and in depth analysis of the main charcters and the story in general.
I will admit to picturing Rufus Sewell as Aurelio Zen whilst reading, but this didn't spoil the story, if anything, his slightly hang-dog, world weary stoicism helped me picture the worlld he was inhabiting.
I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know more about Zen and the machinations of Italian politics and how it affects the policeman's daily lot.
Off to buy the next in the series.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another great story by Michael Dibdin 18 Dec 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book will appeal to all lovers do quirky characters. Paints a great picture of Italians and the way they think. It's a very good read.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Ratking 14 Jun 2012
By Ragnar VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback
This is the first in the series of novels featuring Aurelio Zen, a detective from Venice who, in the course of his career, investigates crimes in many parts of Italy. Here, although he is living in Rome at the time, he is sent to Perugia to investigate the kidnapping of a rich business man, Ruggiero Miletti.

The main focus of the plot appears to be fierce internal rivalries within the Miletti family, several of whom leave almost everything to be desired. Despite many obstacles, Zen eventually figures out why and by whom the kidnapped man is murdered shortly after his release by the kidnappers.

But just as important in this book is the portrayal of Italian society - for example, the pressures brought to bear by the rich on those who might stand in their way, or the jobs-for-life regime prevailing in the Italian public sector. And also, as in the United States, the self-interested moves made by certain public prosecutors. In this society nothing is straightforward and few things are as they seem.

The book is unusual in that it begins with a series of dialogues, but it sets a high standard in the quality of its writing which Dibden was to maintain in later books.
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32 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Matryoshka Mystery 22 Feb 2003
By taking a rest HALL OF FAME
Format:Paperback
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.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars aurelio zen and ratking
it took me a while to get into this book but once I did I enjoyed it but not as much as other zen books. Read more
Published 1 month ago by nettie
3.0 out of 5 stars A good read, but not quite as good as I thought it would be.
I was a little disappointed in the writer's portrayal of Zen.
I thought Zen would have had a stronger strength of character. Read more
Published 2 months ago by glynis booth
4.0 out of 5 stars A flavour of Italy
Zen is a fascinating creation - living in an often claustrophobic, danger- and action-packed world, fightimg back from demotion. We see little introspection in him . Read more
Published 4 months ago by Elizabeth 64
3.0 out of 5 stars Heavy Going
I read this after watching some of the TV programmes. I normally read the books before watching film pr TV adaptations and I should have done so in this case. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Bruce Campbell
5.0 out of 5 stars Well worth the money
I had never used this company before but their prices for second-hand hardbacks were keen and (increasingly more important) their postage rates were very acceptable. Read more
Published 4 months ago by willy shrewsbury
3.0 out of 5 stars scrambled Ratking
Like Zen normally, but found this remarkably difficult to track story lines, and decide how conclusions were reached. Read more
Published 5 months ago by C. F. Dubery
4.0 out of 5 stars Intriguing all the way!
A really good thriller from page one on, and a strong lead character in inspector zen. Will definitely be reading the next story , vendetta.
Published 5 months ago by davros's mate
4.0 out of 5 stars A good read
This was my first Michael Dibdin book and I thoroughly enjoyed it from start to finish. It kept my attention all the way through.
Published 5 months ago by IanL
5.0 out of 5 stars Zen!
Was absolutely smitten by the short TV series. The books needless to say are not exactly the same. But again excellent characterisation, good plots, and interesting locations.
Published 7 months ago by eclectic reader
4.0 out of 5 stars Better than the TV series.
Was not impressed by the tv series, but this is a good and different police story. Rather than have a super cop, who is amazing in every way, Zen is just a plodder, who takes a lot... Read more
Published 9 months ago by VincenzoFrancisco
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