When, one dark night in November, Prince Ludovico Ruspanti fell 150 feet to his death in the chapel at St. Peter's, Rome, there were a number of questions to be answered. Inspector Aurelio Zen finds that getting the answers isn't easy, as witness after witness is mysteriously silenced - by violent death. To crack the secret of the Vatican, Zen must penetrate the most secret place of all: the Cabal.
©1992 Michael Dibdin (P)2014 Audible, Inc.
I write for myself, for my own pleasure. And I want to be left alone to do it. - Salinger ^(;,;)^
"Nothing had changed. Nothing ever would. In sheer frustration he fired his pistol again and again, blasting away as though to punch new stars in the sky."
-- Michael Dibdin, Cabal
Dibdin writes tight little Italian mysteries that are blessed with one huge plus -- Aurelio Zen. He seems to be a direct descendent of both Father Brown and Inspector Montalbano (or Philip Marlowe).
Zen is an Italian anti-hero detective. A skilled and savvy investigator with a morality that seems at times to be just a bit fluid. He would prefer to be left alone but is often thrust into cases that require him to walk the delicate wire between the treachery of Italian bureaucracy and the mendacity of the Italian criminals and conspiracies he is tasked with solving (the detective trying to solve crimes while also dealing with an inept bureaucracy is also found and fascinatingly explore by James Church in his North Korean "Inspector O" novels).
Zen is a kind and likable weasel, a jaded fox, a middle-aged divorcee living with his mother. He is easy to identify and feel sympathetic with. Quite often he kind of deserves our sympathy.
This just isn't the strongest book I've read so far in the series (I've now read the first four). It ends too quick, and seems to fall too hard at both ends. There are moments of genius and movements of boredom, yet like Zen, the reader seems left at the end with very little payoff for all his/her efforts.
Both story and narration are in my top ten.
Zen has always skated on the edge of the corrupt Italian system, I was on tenterhooks following him as he descended deeper into it's murky waters. Deception on all sides with a satisfying conclusion.
Michael Kitchen has an incredibly versatile voice. He largely uses vocal light and shade to distinguish the characters and speaks with absolute clarity. This adds another dimension to Michael Dibdin's wonderful writing.
This book had me laughing and close to tears at times.
Love having someone read me a story. Fires in the hearth, rain on the roof, sunny days and surf. Good friends, good food and J S Bach.
What a treasure.
There is macabre humour in the story's symmetry.The start and finish.
Zen very patiently explains why a death in the Vatican is suicide and a death in Rome is murder.
Kitchen is the perfect reader who does convey the nuance behind Aurelio Zen's appearance of professional behaviour as he determines his course of action in difficult circumstances.
Forget the series you may have seen on TV. This story written by Michael Dibden, read by Michael Kitchen is one you will listen to again and again.
Not like the film series at all. I like the designer side of it. I liked the gifted sister, Ariana. But I didn't care for Zen's actions towards the end. Oh well. I'm going to read Book 4 and see how it goes.
Classics, history, historical fiction, marketing, Napoleonic stuff and of course 'Boys own Adventure'. This is my bent. Occasional self help as well.
Michael Dibdin's writing is tighter and so easy to listen to. In face Michael Kitchen is the best for this series. Not looking forward to the next book as I understand he does not do it. The Cabal is the best thus far and I was a little sad when it ended. Having PBD (Post Book Depression) isn't my idea of fun. I will get over it and get on with the next book. This story is so clever and interesting. Listen to this book or miss something you should of experienced in life.
"Good story that keeps you guessing"
good story and there is no clear villain till the end but does end slightly abruptly, made me get the next book in the series to see what happens
"Spoiled by odd emphasis."
I was looking forward to listening to this book as I love to read the Aurelio Zen books. Unfortunately, however the narration was very oddly done. The emphasis seemed to be in all the wrong places as if the narrator was reading something he had never seen before and was failing to make sense of what he was reading. This is very odd as Michael Kitchen is a very good actor. I doubt I will finish the book for this reason, I have tried to listen to it several times but rarely get very far.
Appalling narration don't listen to another by him completely ruined a very good story. I want my money back.
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