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.
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.