Neopolitan businessmen, politicians, and eminent mafiosi are assassinated as someone takes literally the job of cleaning up the city's tarnished image. In this mystery, Aurelio Zen discovers that in '90s 'New Italy', things are still the same.
©1996 Michael Dibdin (P)2014 Audible, Inc.
Michael Kitchen is a wonderful reader, he pronounces the Italian words sprinkled through the story beautifully. He has just the right balance of lightness and irony for the character of Aurelio Zen, the disillusioned Italian detective. This story is playing off the opera Cosi Fan Tutte, with the characters of the story having similar experiences to those in the opera.
I am a big Michael Dibdin/Aurelio Zen fan, and this book has a decidedly different, more playful style than the other books. That is not to say it is not as good, it doesn't have the more serious tone that the other stories do. It is a nice change for Zen.
Michael Kitchen has a wonderful voice, pronounces the Italian words expertly, and has just the right tone of irony that is required for the Aurelio Zen series.
This book was very entertaining and funny, I highly recommend it to fans of Aurelio Zen and those who enjoy lighthearted detective stories.
I give it 5 stars all around!
Old World Traveler
Yes, I would recommend this to anyone who likes a good story told by a great voice artist like Michael Kitchen.
The plot is down right fun.
Mr Kitchen is as good as ever. Besides I love his Folye's War series. He is certainly a great actor. Forget someone like Tom Cruse reading this. Kitchen is the consummate leading character actor at the top of his game. He appears to be having great fun with the various voices. I envy such talent.
One can really appreciate this story when you find a quiet place, a cup of hot chocolate, and no interruptions. It is not hard to "get into" this story. I will wait a month or two and hear it again.
I enjoy Scandinavian mystery and crime authors like Asa Larsson, Helene Tursten, Jo Nesbo, Karin Fossum and Amaaldur Indridason just to name a few.
What's not to like about Zen? He loves his mother, treats women with respect and catches the bad guys. Michael Dibdin I miss your kind of writting.
I listen to audio books while working.
We were introduced to this author though the BBC, and that Zen is such an unusual character, not typical, moral in his own way, sincere, with a backbone, and very clever. THIS IS NOT THAT ZEN. It is much more police-corrupt-lazy cop, and so it is a huge disappointment. I forced myself through 1 1/2 hours, then let go and went on. Possibly I will give it another try when I am not thinking it is like the BBC series, WHICH IS EXCELLENT, but I doubt it.
Fine writing with humor in the style of Tom Sharpe. Maybe not as good as he, but who is? There's a Shakespearean type finale when all the characters gather on stage to resolve questions and reveal surprises. There's even an ending soliloquy by Zen on the mysteries of life. My only criticism is that the main character is a bit more of a bumbler than I like in crime novels.
Great characters, and great reading by Kitchen, whose entertaining and distinguishing accents make listening easy. Zen's taxi-driver reminded me of the inn-keeper in Shaw's A Man of Destiny (comedic play about the young Napoleon). The plot is good enough, but who needs a great plot with scenes and dialogue like this. Don't listen near the "Quiet Please" sign, or be prepared to suppress chuckles!
Classics, history, historical fiction, marketing, Napoleonic stuff and of course 'Boys own Adventure'. This is my bent. Occasional self help as well.
One of those stories where one chases their tail only to end up having it all work out in the end with a few laughs to tie it all up. Not Michael Dibdin's best, but still nice to see that Aurelio Zen hasn't been affected by fame and success, actually this character always just misses out, but he still ends up surviving and not looking too bad. Michael Kitchen is his usually best.
The narrator is the best. He makes the Italian voices different and fun. He has just the right touch for this fairly humorous Zen episode. His narration is a bit slow, but his delivery helps you enjoy all the nuances of the authors prose, especially the dialog.
The plot was a tad confusing with lots of digressions, but that seemed intentional in this parody of Mozart's opera. This is not a book for someone who wants a straight detective mystery.
I've listened to one other Michael Kitchen performance. He is just superlative always.
I haven't read the print edition. The audio edition was wonderful largely because of Michael Kitchen's narration.
Aurelio Zen of course. He is by far the most developed, and in spite of some slightly shady practices, he is very sympathetic. He has a lot of insight, empathy and, in the end, works to see justice done.
He has a lovely voice. He manages to use it create a huge array of different characters.
No. I read it in 1-2 hour chunks while hiking, and smaller chunks while driving. I think hearing it in one sitting would have been too much.
Dibdin is a very fine writer. His mysteries are engaging and his descriptions of Italy are marvellously evocative. This particular story was tied to the plot of Cosi Fan Tutti, which made it a bit artificial. I liked the other Zen stories I've read or listened to better. But it was definitely worthwhile. And the narration was wonderful.
"Made me smile!"
This book is worth listening to for the excellent way Michael Kitchen reads it. He puts so much humour into it with his expression and Italian accent. The story has many twists and turns and great characters. It was hard to switch off.
"Cosi Fan Tuti"
After the too short 3 episode Zenn series on BBC, I thought I'd try an audio version of the one of the books, I was not disappointed. I found it's witty, tongue in cheek humour, and light touch most entertaining. Couldn't stop listening, until I'd finished it, and have immediately bought another Zenn audio book. The narrator Michael Kitchen is perfect for the style of prose, and 'acts' the narrative superbly, adding to my total enjoyment. Highly recommended.
"The Art of Zen..."
An intriguing plot, presented with a deftness of touch rarely encountered in such novels.
This author understands the dark heart of Italy.
"Good story, awful narrator!!"
By Michael Dibdin, yes.
By Michael Kitchen, no. Unfortunately, there is not always an option and if you follow a series.....
Yes. Same as in the ones already made.
"Dibdin and Zen - unpredictable and compelling."
It takes concentration to follow and understand the machinations of the minds of his characters, not least of all, Zen himself, but once grasped, following them is a breathless journey - they never disappoint!!
"Uneven writing, brilliantly read"
The story has some very good parts, but altogether - it is too long, too convoluted and sporting a number of half-baked characters. The details are better than the whole. Michael Kitchen reading is superb.
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