Back to Bologna
By Michael Dibdin
(Vintage, Paperback, 9780307275882, 240pp.)
Publication Date: September 19, 2006
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In the latest installment in his critically acclaimed Italian mystery series, Michael Didbin sends Aurelio Zen to Italy’s culinary capital, Bologna, where he discovers that some cases are not quite what they appear to be.
When the corpse of the shady Bologna industrialist who owns the local football team is found both shot and stabbed with a Parmesan knife, Aurelio Zen is summoned to oversee the investigation. Anxious for a break from his girlfriend, who attributes Zen’s slow recovery from routine surgery to hypochondria, he is only too happy to take on what first appears to be an undemanding assignment. The case quickly spins out of control, becoming entangled with the fates of a student semiotics, a mysterious immigrant claiming to be royalty, and Bologna’s most incompetent private detective. Meanwhile a prominent postmodern academic accuses Italy’s leading celebrity chef of being a fraud. Back to Bologna is dazzlingly plotted and delivers both comic and serious insights into the realities of today’s Italy.
Michael Dibdin was born in England and raised in Northern Ireland. He attended Sussex University and the University of Alberta in Canada. He spent five years in Perugia, Italy, where he taught English at the local university. He went on to live in Oxford, England and Seattle, Washington. He was the author of eighteen novels, eleven of them in the popular Aurelio Zen series, including Ratking, which won the Crime Writers’ Association Gold Dagger, and Cabal, which was awarded the French Grand Prix du Roman Policier. His work has been translated into eighteen languages. He died in 2007.
“Clever. . . . It has wit, subtlety, a sense of mischief and exquisite cameos of Italy and Italians.”–The Times (London)
“Back to Bologna is the sprightliest entry in the Zen oeuvre for a good few years...Barely a page goes by without a big laugh. . . . I can’t wait until Dibdin takes us [to Italy] again.”–Daily Telegraph
“A clever mystery. . . . Pure pleasure from the first to the last.”–The Evening Standard