A Long Finish

by Michael Dibdin

Paperback, 2000




Vintage Crime/Black Lizard (2000), 272 pages


In Aurelio Zen, officer of the Italian Criminalpol, Michael Dibdin has created one of the most intriguing and addictive detectives in contemporary crime fiction. Now he returns in "A Long Finish, " driven by a steely instinct for self-preservation coupled with a love of good food and wine. Zen is back in Rome, meeting with a world-famous film director at the instruction of his superiors. In the privacy of a remarkably well-stocked wine cellar, the director convinces Zen to arrange for the release of the scion of an important wine-growing family, who has been jailed for the murder of his own father. It's a puzzle of envy, love, greed, and pride, accompanied by heaping plates of pasta covered with generous shavings of white truffle, and bottomless glasses of the best local wine. It is the perfect challenge for Zen -- and a perfect read for his fans.… (more)

User reviews

LibraryThing member abbottthomas
This is the first Aurelio Zen book I have read. I bought it after watching, and greatly enjoying, the new BBC mini series with Rufus Sewell in the name part. Sewell did it so well that I found this book rather a disappointment. This Zen, admittedly older than in the televised stories, is rather more like Maigret (without the wife). Definitely middle aged and a bit stuffy despite showing a willingness to break rules and cut corners when he thinks he's right. We are treated to some personal angst arising from difficult relationships in the past and leading to somnambulism. Brief (very) psychotherapy from the local doctor - also a prince, pot smoker, harpsichord virtuoso and lover of much younger women - only leads him to a improbable decision about personal family ties.
The atmosphere sounds authentic and the author had expert help in getting the details of Piedmontese viticulture right. The scent of the white truffle oozes from the pages. The killings are brutal and rural and the resolution is obscure untill the end although there is a very obvious clue to the identity of the guiilty party about a third of the way through the book.
I think I will meet up with Zen again, even if only for the descriptions of Italy.
… (more)
LibraryThing member JRexV
Good book. Classic detective novel set in rural Italy. I picked it up to read before our trip to Italy because it is set in the same area we were visiting.
LibraryThing member leslie.98
I didn't care for this 6th entry in the Aurelio Zen series very much. Zen himself seemed to be floundering and he never figured out the true story even when he was close to it... Dibdin also basically tells the reader who the culprit was fairly early.


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