A Long Finish

A Long Finish

An Aurelio Zen Mystery

Book - 1998
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Baker & Taylor
With the future of a new wine vintage at stake, Aurelio Zen takes on another unorthodox assignment, to investigate the case of the jailed heir to an important wine-growing family, accused of a brutal murder

Blackwell North Amer
After a riotous and heroic stint in Naples, 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 - whose influence clearly reaches beyond the entertainment industry - 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. At stake for the director, a connoisseur of Piedmontese wines, is this year's vintage: only the jailed man can ensure the timely harvesting of his family's precious grapes. At stake for Zen: avoiding a posting to the dreaded Sicily.
In Alba - an outwardly serene village set among rolling hills that are planted with vines for as far as the eye can see - Zen discovers that only spilled blood can separate a family from its land. And though murder here is rare, it is complex. But at least it's accompanied by heaping plates of pasta, generous shavings of white truffles, and bottomless glasses of wine. If only Zen can keep his policing skills as sharp as his palate is pampered ...

& Taylor

With the future of a new wine vintage at stake, Aurelio Zen takes on another unorthodox assignment, to investigate the case of the jailed heir to an important wine-growing family, accused of a brutal murder. 20,000 first printing.

Publisher: New York : Pantheon Books, 1998
Edition: 1st American ed
ISBN: 9780375404290
Characteristics: 261 p. ; 24 cm


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Jun 02, 2017

Convoluted does not begin to describe the house of mirrors that this set of murders reveals in a small Italian wine village. "Everyone knows" what is what, leading to suspicions upon suspicions, and shifting loyalties and different explanations that will keep the reader doubting his own sense even of events that are "seen" firsthand. Complex and fruity, with an aftertaste of lingering spice.

Jul 14, 2015

Love Michael Dibdin's unusual mysteries with that great character, Aurelio Zen! The PBS Mystery series with Zen was a treat!

WVMLStaffPicks Nov 13, 2014

Aurelio Zen is dispatched to a small village in Piedmont, a rural bucolic setting amid notable vineyards. While enjoying heaping plates of pasta and truffles, and endless glasses of wine, he must solve a grisly murder. With his usual eccentricity he uncovers the shocking truth and once again baffles his superiors.

Jan 10, 2012

This is #6 in a now-ended series of 11 books featuring an Italian character named Aurelio Zen. So by #6, the author should have learned how to write well. But no, this book has suitably complex plot but with not enough characters to keep up the suspense, since everyone is either murdered or is guilty or is clearly a strawman; characterization is sometimes good but more often it’s two-dimensional; there are untranslated Italian phrases thrown in to impress us and to add “flavour”; there’s a homosexual element that even a straight person can see is hopelessly full of clichés about being effete and dressing too carefully; at least one subplot is left hanging at the end and the denouement is too easy; and there are too many scene and time changes that aren’t well signposted.

Nov 08, 2011

Another dark and convoluted murder mystery featuring Aurelio on location in the fertile wine & truffle producing area of northern Italy around Turin & Milan. Initially sent to investigate the murder of a prominent vintner in the region, the bodies quickly begin to pile up. Colourful characters, lots of sleuthing, a few out-of-body experiences and every so often interspersed with Zen’s amusingly naïve and opinionated views about modern technology and anything non –Italian, delightfully rounded off with a suitably macabre ending. Having recently seen the BBC series, loosely adapted from Dibdin’s earliest Zen novels, I can easily picture this story unfolding on screen – here’s hoping it’s in the works.


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