Aurelio Zen: Back to Bologna

Narrated by: Cameron Stewart
Series: Aurelio Zen, Book 10
Length: 6 hrs and 59 mins
4 out of 5 stars (19 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

When the corpse of the shady industrialist who owns the local football team is found both shot and stabbed with a Parmesan knife, Italian police inspector Aurelio Zen is called to Bologna to oversee the investigation.

Recovering slowly from surgery and fleeing an equally painful crisis in his personal life, Zen is only too happy to take on what at first appears to be a routine and relatively undemanding assignment. But soon a world-famous university professor is shot with the same gun, immediately after publicly humiliating Italy's leading celebrity television chef, and the case - intertwined with the fates of an earnest student of semiotics and a mysterious young immigrant who claims to be from Ruritania - spins out of control, and Zen is in no condition to rise to the challenge.

There's also a wild card in the pack: Tony Speranza, Bologna's most flamboyant private detective. Back to Bologna is dazzlingly plotted, features a cast of vivid and idiosyncratic characters and along the way delivers both comic and serious insights into the realities of today's Italy.

Michael Dibdin was born in 1947. He went to school in Northern Ireland and later to Sussex University and the University of Alberta in Canada. He lived in Seattle.

After completing his first novel, The Last Sherlock Holmes Story, in 1978, he spent four years in Italy teaching English at the University of Perugia. His second novel, A Rich Full Death, was published in 1986. It was followed by Ratking in 1988, which won the Gold Dagger Award for the Best Crime Novel of the year and introduced us to his Italian detective Inspector Aurelio Zen.

In 1989 The Tryst was published to great acclaim and was followed by Vendetta in 1990, the second story in the Zen series. His last novel, End Games, was published posthumously in July 2007.

©2005 Michael Dibdin (P)2014 Audible, Ltd

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Great fun.

Loved the language. And the irony. The characters, and of course always Italy. None of my friends have tuned in though. They're all philistines who cherish the gossipy-toned pablum.

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  • Roger
  • 10-07-19

A little too tongue in cheek

Essential for all Zen fans, although not his finest. The satire of celebrity and TV culture was well done but the whole story relied too much on Agatha Christie style coincidences. Or maybe it was an ironic “hommage “ to other detective genres?
Reading was good except that the pronunciation of many Italian words was often wrong. An English person will always speak with an English accent but is it too much trouble to run through the text with an Italian speaker to ensure the accents are on the right syllables?