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Medusa (Aurelio Zen #9)

3.73 of 5 stars 3.73  ·  rating details  ·  517 ratings  ·  52 reviews
After a decomposed body is discovered in an abandoned military tunnel, Inspector Aurelio Zen travels north to the Italian Alps to investigate. At first glance, the death appears to have been an accident. But when Zen takes a closer look, a mysterious tattoo begins to tell a much more sinister tale, especially after the body is snatched from the morgue. As Zen races to disc ...more
ebook, 272 pages
Published December 18th 2007 by Vintage (first published January 1st 2003)
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(showing 1-30 of 877)
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Jeffrey Keeten
Because of the untimely, much too early, death of Michael Dibdin we are left with only eleven Aurelio Zen mysteries. I know subsconsciously I have been pacing myself, savoring each one with the knowledge that ever time I read one I get closer to the end. Masterpiece Theater has in their infinite wisdom taken the first three books and made excellent renditions for television that inspired me to pull Medusa off the shelf. Casting Rufus Sewell was brilliant. He captures the essence of the Aurelio Z ...more
It seems to me that in general one expects living authors to run out of words before breath – entirely unreasonable, I know, but there it is. Dibdin died too early, making this an unexpected treat, an Aurelio Zen I thought I’d read but hadn’t, I realised leafing through it in a bookshop in Australia....

Jan 31, 2012 rabbitprincess rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Zen fans
Shelves: bibliotheque, 2012
This was a real treat and somewhat of a relief because I'd tried reading the fourth installment in the Aurelio Zen series, Dead Lagoon, and was worried that I'd already read all the good books. Not to worry: this is a great entry in the series, exactly what I want out of a Zen book.

The mystery is intriguing -- a body is found in a disused military tunnel and is believed to have been there for about 30 years. Is it an accident? One may think so, but the disappearance of the body from the morgue,
Zen is traveling all over northern Italy (Milan, Lugano, the Marche and a cave under the Dolomites for openers) to find out what happened to a dead body discovered by Austrian cavers 30 years after the presumed victim was declared dead in a plane crash.

The only initial clue to his identity is a tattoo of Medusa on his arm. When the body and all the records pertaining to it disappear, it becomes apparent to Zen that someone fairly far up the food chain has a nasty secret that needs to be kept at
Not too bad. I'm finding the Zen stories a little far-fetched and the characterisation somewhat lacking. Dibdin tends to go off on discursive tangents and is often verbose about things that don't advance the plot. On the other hand, he really hasn't achieved a fully formed character in Aurelio Zen. I prefer Donna Leon's Venetian detective, Brunetti, or the Sicilian Inspector Montalbano.
My friend Tom has been trying to get me to read Dibdin for some time. So, the fact that I am on vacation, that Tom is here and he finished this mystery and handed it to me, might have something to do with why I read this book. I don't particularly like starting mystery series in the middle, but I made an exception.

If this novel is any indication, this series is as good as my friend claims. There was one time that I felt like I was smarter than the characters, but that did not last once Zen enter
Michael Bell
This was an interesting read. The mystery involved a body that was discovered in a cave. It had been there for at least twenty five years. Many of the actors involved had gone on with their lives and the discovery opened some wounds that were interlaced with powerful secrets. A son's unanswered questions from a father who was not supposed to be his. A military connection to a shadowy group. The title provides the basis for the identifying mark on the body and the Italian language in the novel ma ...more
I know I said And Then You Die was my favorite Zen novel, but then I hadn't read Medusa at the time. After a rather psychological outing, Dibdin roars back with a conspiracy story, with the clock ticking away while Zen puts together the pieces. The featured geography this time is the Alto-Adige, the heavily Germanic former Austrian region in northern Italy (although we travel a fair bit over the course of the book). Zen feels like a real detective in this one -- something that hasn't seemed the ...more
In einem Südtiroler Alpentunnel aus dem 1. Weltkrieg finden Bergsteiger einen Toten. Zuerst denken sie an einen Kletterunfall, doch einige Indizien sprechen dagegen. Aurelio Zen wird von seinem neuen Chef beauftragt, die Todesumstände zu klären, stößt vor Ort allerdings bei den Behörden auf wenig Kooperation, egal, ob es darum geht, Unterlagen bereitzustellen oder Zen einen Blick auf das Todesopfer zu gewähren. Die Identität des Toten lässt sich zwar zweifelsfrei feststellen, wirft aber gleichze ...more
Blair McDowell
Dibdin wrote six books featuring Detective Aurelio Zen, A Rome policeman. His main character is portrayed as flawed and human, buffeted by the often conflicting demands of his superior officer and the Minister of Justice. He walks a narrow line between the two, somehow remaining reasonable honest and reasonably effective, not always intentionally. He is a very likable character.

Medusa is my favorite among these books. The plot is convoluted and has as many twists and turns as the snakes on Medus
Roderick Hart
This book features Dibdin’s detective, Aurelio Zen, who hails originally from Venice though he now works from Rome. His boss asks him to look over a number of files and select one for investigation. The one he chooses turns out to be more complicated than expected. A body is discovered underground by cavers, but it proves to be the remains of an army officer who, according to the military, had died in a plane crash. Since this cannot have been true, something strange is going on. The security po ...more
Patrick Sherriff
A good whodunnit with an ingenious plot that allows us glimpses of Berlusconi's noughties Italy contrasted with the Italy of the 1970s. This was my first Dibdin, so I maybe unfairly found myself comparing him to Donna Leon, whose Venetian detective Brunetti covers much the same ground. Dibdin is more plot-focussed, with tighter control of language than Leon, though at the expense of characterisation of the protagonist. I can still recall the tight circle of family and colleagues around Brunetti, ...more
I was introduced to Italian, born in Venice, police detective Aurelio Zen via Masterpiece Mystery. Each book in the series seems to include an indictment of the Italian political process and how Zen deals with and survives it. I was not particularly enthralled with the story that proceeds this one because Zen's survival seemed to stretch the laws of probability too far. However, I enjoyed this well told story with its interesting twists and turns involving murders, old and new, a cuckold, milita ...more
Michael Dibdin - Medusa (1994). Negende deel van de Aurelio Zen-reeks en voor de zoveelste keer een genadeloze aanval op het laagje beschavingsvernis op de Italiaanse maatschappij. Deze keer draait het allemaal om een doofpotoperatie die op gang werd gebracht door de vondst van een lijk in een bergschacht. Militaire-, overheids- en politiediensten willen zich allemaal met de zaak moeien om te vermijden dat de waarheid over de zaak aan het licht komt, een waarheid die Zen probeert te achterhalen ...more
Zen has extricated himself from his previous difficulties and seems to be happily settled with the lady he met during his previous case. Here he goes on the trail of a possible murder in the past, seemingly a straightforward and not particularly significant case until he finds his routine enquiries thwarted at an official level of some sort (military intelligence and the different branches of the Italian police seemingly don't necessarily cooperate with each other). There is a race against time ...more
Dennis Fischman
Dibdin is among the best stylists in the mystery genre. He conjures up landscapes, both geological and political, with a few well-chosen words. In this book, Inspector Aurelio Zen is investigating a murder that might not be a murder--except that the military police are so eager to cover it up. He ends up finding out a great deal about right-wing and neo-Fascist plots in Italy (all of which fit what we know about the secret police SISMI and the public tyrant Berlusconi). He also learns some dark ...more
Zen is the fish supposedly out of water again, but as usual, his wits serve him well in a story far removed from Rome and his previous cases. This one is darker, more disturbing somehow. Conspiracies, a disappearing body and deadly military history make for dangerous challenges. Will our hero solve the case? C'mon, what do you think? Another meaty, enjoyable episode with our favorite unwillingly maverick detective with the impeccable sense of sprezzatura. This is one book I wish had been turned ...more
Richard Rogers jr
Michael Didbin's Aurelio Zen mysteries are almost all great. Superb if you are an Italophile as each book takes place in a different part of Italy. Naples Sardinia Rome Venice they're all here and wonderfully evoked. And Zen is a great detective working in and around the bureaucratic and highly political national police, and somehow coming out of his cases with his life and position intact. Very clever and well written books. This one is set in northern Italy on the Swiss border, and so the loca ...more
Anita Edwards
Read this because I liked the PBS version so much and found myself slightly disappointed. The story was definitely compelling, and like others I appreciated Dibin's talent for making you feel like you're in Italy & facing a maze of corruption. The detractor for me was that I found the quality of the writing mediocre. It got better as he went along and if this is really the first Aurelio Zen novel, I'll grant that it may simply have taken a while for Dibdin to hit his stride.
I would read ano
This was an enjoyble read. Opens with "An oily fog had mystified the streets, sheathing the facades to either side, estranging familiar landscapes and coating the windows with a skein of liquid seemingly denser than water."

One of those books where you have no idea what's going on, but just keep reading knowing that everything will be explained in the end. Michael Dibdin manages to keep the story moving and the reader engaged as Aurelio Zen investigates a 30 year old mystery.
Zen deals effortlessly with batty dangerous old men defending an old secret.
As ever, he travels to different parts of Italy and gives a good flavour of some regional differences, and the rivalry between 'the Ministry' and the carabiniere.
Ishould have read this before Back to Bologna, as one of the characters in Medusa is more significant in Back to Bologna, but the two book are complete in themselves and it doesn't really matter reading them out of order.
Harry Lane
I don't know how accurate Michael Dibdin's portrayal of Italian culture and politics is, but if even close it is far, far different from what we are accustomed to. His protagonist, a police officer, is forced to conduct his investigations in a milieu of corruption and criminality. The plot moves along briskly, if not always straightforwardly. Characters are well drawn, and the settings are rendered nicely.
Kay Robart
Michael Dibdin's dapper but hapless Aurelio Zen is sent to the Alps to investigate the body of a man found in a disused military tunnel by a climber. Zen eventually finds evidence of a clandestine group within the army. As usual, Dibdin is completely cynical about the corruption in Italy's government and police force.

See my complete review here:
Martin Petchey
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
First of the Aurelio Zen series I have read and I am hooked. Too bad the author is dead - fantastic writer. I kept feeling like I was in Italy the entire time and actually experiencing the level of corruption that is the day to day life of an Italian. Great plot and resolution and well done character development and scene set up. No wonder BBC took these books on as a series....
This is the first Aurelio Zen mystery I've read and I really enjoyed it. It's not an action packed thriller but a methodical unraveling of a complex series of events which began 30 years ago. Added to the interesting plot are vivid descriptions of Italy and a detective prone to long train trips. I look forward to reading more in this series.

Another good mystery with noir overtones by gifted writer Michael Dibdin. It lost some of its appeal for me as its convoluted conspiracy plot (that began decades before most of the book’s main action) developed. However, the sharp and detailed writing on all things Italian, plus some great relationship and sex writing makes it a worthwhile read.
Another good book by Michael Dibdin, with Zen involved in a long ago crime which the Powers that Be want to cover up.
I read this on my Honeymoon in Belize, someone left in behind in a Jungle Lodge we were staying in. I was so happy to have found it, I had finished the book I brought way too soon, I read this through out the trip, I think I left it on the island of San Pedro...
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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 Ratki ...more
More about Michael Dibdin...

Other Books in the Series

Aurelio Zen (1 - 10 of 11 books)
  • Ratking (Aurelio Zen, #1)
  • Vendetta (Aurelio Zen, #2)
  • Cabal (Aurelio Zen, #3)
  • Dead Lagoon (Aurelio Zen, #4)
  • Così Fan Tutti (Aurelio Zen, #5)
  • A Long Finish (Aurelio Zen, #6)
  • Blood Rain (Aurelio Zen, #7)
  • And Then You Die (Aurelio Zen, #8)
  • Back to Bologna (Aurelio Zen, #10)
  • End Games (Aurelio Zen, #11)
The Last Sherlock Holmes Story Ratking (Aurelio Zen, #1) Dead Lagoon (Aurelio Zen, #4) Vendetta (Aurelio Zen, #2) Cabal (Aurelio Zen, #3)

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