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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cosi Fan Tutti, Michael Dibdin
The fifth novel in the series sees Zen sent to Naples, and having a whale of a time. All he has to do is keep out of the way, check in at the office once in a while, and enjoy himself. It would all go swimmingly were it not for an awkward murder that seems to be undue political attention, and the sudden disappearance of a number of prominent local citizens from the cities...
Published on 27 April 2005 by RachelWalker

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not one of Michael Dibdin's better ideas.
I'm currently reading my way through the "Zen" series and really enjoying it.
I am however a bit baffled by this one.Michael Dibdin seems to uncharacteristically be playing for laughs and it reads a bit like "Carry on Naples" with Zen almost an Inspector Clouseau type character.Some of it is very funny but it also grates that plot twists and the behaviour of some...
Published on 3 Feb. 2012 by Oldbiker


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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cosi Fan Tutti, Michael Dibdin, 27 April 2005
By 
RachelWalker "RachelW" (England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
The fifth novel in the series sees Zen sent to Naples, and having a whale of a time. All he has to do is keep out of the way, check in at the office once in a while, and enjoy himself. It would all go swimmingly were it not for an awkward murder that seems to be undue political attention, and the sudden disappearance of a number of prominent local citizens from the cities streets.
These Zen novels just get even more superb as the series goes on, and I'm amazed at how Dibdin does it. Cosi Fan Tutti is a sun-drenched melodrama of a story, told in an absolutely charming style, rather reminiscent of an opera (Dibdin's intention, clearly). It has a completely different tone and tenor to the previous novels; it has a lighter feel to it that suits the series even better than the previous one. Of all the novels, this is the one I've enjoyed most so far, and it's mostly because of this shift in style, this melodramatic, operatic touch (the final 10 pages are an absolute triumph!) Zen is, as always, his usual brilliant self: cynical and cunning, his every endeavour aimed at giving himself an easy life. Until a bit of inconvenient crime shows up, anyway.
Really, I've got to plead with you: read this series! If you're a fan of crime fiction (if you like Rankin or Connelly, or if you adore the disenchanted eye of Donna Leon) then you can't let Zen and Dibdin pass by. Start with Ratking, and then sit back and enjoy. You won't regret it for a minute.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Aurelio Zen in Naples, 6 Feb. 2006
By 
HORAK (Zug, Switzerland) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Aurelio Zen has been dispatched from Rome to Naples to help the Polizia dello Stato responsible for law enforcement within the port area. He is going to fight against a terrorist gang called "Strade pulite" - Clean Streets. He is going to meet Signora Valeria Squillace and her two daughters Orestina and Filomena who wish to marry two members of the local Mafia, Gesualdo and Sabatino. Zen promises to help Signora Squillace by trying to "divert" the two men's taste for women and hires two "prostitutes", Libera and Iolanda while Orestina and Filomena are sent to London, allegedly to improve their English. Matters nearly get out of control when an American marine is killed by a gang of drunken Greek soldiers but whose identity the officers are not able to establish. Among the dead man's belongings there is a mysterious video cassette which is soon to vanish without explanation...
Nothing is what it seems to be, nobody is what they claim to be - except Zen with his usual bonhomie - and so numerous misunderstandings occur which make "Cosi Fan Tutti" the wittiest Aurelio Zen mystery written by Michael Dibdin.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A delightful diversion in the career of Aurelio Zen, 29 Nov. 1999
By A Customer
I picked up this work with some diffidence - the title was a give-away, but I was gradually seduced into growing interest in the way in which Dibdin exploited the plot of Mozart's opera and applied it to a city and society that most merited its worldly cynicism. I lived in Naples for a number of years and revisit it regularly. The author has caught the modern flavour of Naples and its people; its characters are recognisable and its setting, both topographical and social, evocative and convincing. If this is a lighter Aurelio Zen than we have hitherto known, then this does not lessen the skill of the author in his depiction of contemporary Italy. To those who love Italy, opera and above all Naples, this is to be heartily recommended!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Wonderful Diversion, 22 Jan. 2005
Written like a Victorian melodrama or, indeed, an opera, this is a novel that brings a big smile to the face. It is a joy to read and has a very exciting climax. I think one book like this is perfect and I welcome the return to the blacker humour of the other books.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not one of Michael Dibdin's better ideas., 3 Feb. 2012
This review is from: Cosi Fan Tutti (Aurelio Zen 05) (Paperback)
I'm currently reading my way through the "Zen" series and really enjoying it.
I am however a bit baffled by this one.Michael Dibdin seems to uncharacteristically be playing for laughs and it reads a bit like "Carry on Naples" with Zen almost an Inspector Clouseau type character.Some of it is very funny but it also grates that plot twists and the behaviour of some established characters throws out the ongoing narrative of the series.It also verges on the unnecessarily smutty at times as well.
If this was the first Zen book I'd read it would have been the last as well,not because it's bad but it's simply not Zen as we know him or Dibdin at his usual standard in this series.As a standalone with new characters it would be great fun.As part of the Zen series it dosn't work for me and I really wonder what Michael Dibdin was doing writing it as such.I do appreciate that it was "along the lines" of the opera e.t.c. which dictated the storyline and that some of the characters had to maybe behave out of their usual character.Clever stuff.....but a bit too clever and came perilously close to spoiling my view of the series so far.That would have been a shame as the next book,"A Long Finish" is business as usual and so far (not finished the series yet)my favourite Zen book.If only Dibdin hadn't used the Zen series to have his little joke/show off or whatever it was he was trying to do I'd have enjoyed it a lot more,in places it borders on farce.As a comic novel it's entertaining,as a crime thriller it's pretty ludicrous.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Slightly disappointing addition to the Zen series, 22 Jan. 2002
Sandwiched between the brilliant Dead Lagoon and A Long Finish in the Aurelio Zen series, this is, in comparison, a fairly lightweight piece of work. The central conceit (the chapter headings and the broad outline of the plot mirror those of Mozart's opera of the same name) is a neat one, but this seems to constrain the general atmosphere to be more broadly farcical than the grim black humour of the other books in the series. Dibdin's prose is a pleasure to read, as always, though. If you're reading the books in strict order, don't be put off as the next one (A Long Finish) is a cracker.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, 10 Nov. 2011
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This review is from: Cosi Fan Tutti (Aurelio Zen 05) (Paperback)
I've arrived a little late to the Zen series encouraged to look further by the BBC dramatisation of the first three novels (which I rather like but which seems to have been rubbished because it wasn't in Italian (!)). I bought and read the first 3 books and hugely enjoyed them then moved on to number four "Dead Lagoon" which is excellent. However this 5th installment which sees Zen posted to Naples is a disappointment. The description of the scene (Naples itself) and the underlying politics of that time are good (as they were in the first 4 books) but the plotline is pretty weak and shoots off in so many directions that although it's not a major strain to follow, it feels like almost too much trouble and not really worth the effort. I also was disappointed at the ending (although to be fair it does pull a multitude of strands together reasonably well) and it felt far more contrived than the previous efforts with Zen an almost peripheral figure at times.

Don't let this somewhat negative review put you off the Zen series - they are good and in the main well plotted and decently written. It makes sense to read the series in order so as to understand Zens increasingly complicated domestic life and as such you'll need to read this one. Just don't expect anything too much.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Rambling and tedious., 26 Oct. 2013
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I am slowly working my way through Michael Dibdin's books after having them recommended to me by a friend who knows of my love for Italy. Whilst his previous Zen books are hardly gripping page turners (they are rather slow burning(, they at least have credible plot lines and a soaked in Italian atmosphere and culture. This book has the atmosphere as always but that is about the only thing that is going for it. I am about halfway through after having the book on the Kindle for about 2 months and I am really struggling to persevere with it (although I will). The book does not know whether it is a crime thriller or a comic farce and the result is that it ends up being neither. There melodrama concerning the landladies' two daughters and the two hoods who court them is ridiculous and intrudes on the pace of the crime investigation. The result is that the novel lurches between the two and the result is bewilderment.

I have looked at other reviews for the rest of the Zen series and they all seem to be ok so I will carry on the series and write this novel off as a dud (everyone makes mistakes) but unless you are desperate for chronology I would recommend that this book should should be skipped.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A slight story with a toe-curlingly bad ending, 11 Aug. 2012
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Lovers of opera will recognise the title, well almost. Mozart's opera Così fan Tutte, roughly translated as "all women do it", centres on the question of whether the two girls will remain faithful while their lovers are away. Dibdin has made a small change to the Italian, Così fan Tutti, perhaps meaning "all men do it" since there is a sub-plot concerning the constancy of two unconvincing petty gangsters. That, sadly, is about the most interesting idea in the book

Zen is in Naples, a chaotic city of which Dibdin writes very well. But Zen is bored and without interest in his new job. Sadly, his mood quickly transferred to this reader, who was not helped by a weak and confused plot. I am not sure whether or not Dibdin intended the ending to be comic, but the book finishes in a farce so contrived that my Kindle was nearly thrown across the room.

I have enjoyed all the other Zen books I have read, but this one is light-weight and a disappointment. Ratking it is not.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing episode in the shady career of Aurelio Zen, 9 Jun. 1999
By A Customer
I have enjoyed all of Michael Dibdin's books up until now. They are filled with accurate observations which conjure up a clear picture of the Italian region and society each story is set in. But Cosi Fan Tutti is no more than an entertaining farce. The characters are crude caricatures and the plot is both far-fetched and predictable. There was none of the excitement and nervous anticipation of his other books. I know Naples well and awaited the book eagerly, but was sorely disappointed. It didn't bring the city to mind, and offered nothing new and memorable. Read his next book, A Long Finish, instead.
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Cosi Fan Tutti (Aurelio Zen 05)
Cosi Fan Tutti (Aurelio Zen 05) by Michael Dibdin (Paperback - 17 Feb. 2011)
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