Medusa (Aurelio Zen Mystery) Paperback – 5 Aug 2004
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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
"'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"See all Product description
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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!
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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