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Set in the Dolomites
(Trento-Alto-Adige)
Also Milan, Verona,
Campione, Rome,
Marche
©2003

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Michael Dibdin

The Aurelio Zen Mystery Series

Medusa

JACKET NOTES:  When a group of Austrian cavers exploring a network of abandoned military tunnels in the Italian Alps come across human remains at the bottom of a deep shaft, everyone as sumes the death was accidental--until the still unidentified body is stolen from the morgue and the Defence Ministry puts a news blackout on the case. And is the recent car bombing in Campione D'Italia, a tiny tax haven surrounded on all sides by Switzerland, somehow related? The whole affair has the whiff of political intrigue. That's enough to interest Aurelio Zen's boss at the Interior Ministry, who wants to know who is hiding what from whom and why.

The search for the truth leads Zen back into the murky history of post-war Italy and obscure corners of modern-day society to uncover the truth about a crime that everyone thought was as dead and buried as the victim.
(©Faber and Faber)


BOOK REVIEW

Michael Dibdin’s latest Italian mystery featuring Aurelio Zen is superb. This is his 9th in the Zen series and the best since ‘Dead Lagoon’ was published in 1994. In his past Zen thrillers, Dibdin set each novel in a different location in Italy, e.g. Umbria, Sardinia, Venice, Naples, and Sicily, to name a few. Other mystery series writers pick a single location, i.e., Donna Leon sets her Commissario Brunetti series in Venice and Magdalen Nabb’s Marshal Guarnaccia series is Florence-based.
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, August 2003