Roderick Hart's Reviews > Ratking

Ratking by Michael Dibdin
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's review
Jun 14, 2012

really liked it

This is the first in the series of novels featuring Aurelio Zen, a detective from Venice who, in the course of his career, investigates crimes in many parts of Italy. Here, although he is living in Rome at the time, he is sent to Perugia to investigate the kidnapping of a rich business man, Ruggiero Miletti.

The main focus of the plot appears to be fierce internal rivalries within the Miletti family, several of whom leave almost everything to be desired. Despite many obstacles, Zen eventually figures out why and by whom the kidnapped man is murdered shortly after his release by the kidnappers.

But just as important in this book is the portrayal of Italian society – for example, the pressures brought to bear by the rich on those who might stand in their way, or the jobs-for-life regime prevailing in the Italian public sector. And also, as in the United States, the self-interested moves made by certain public prosecutors. In this society nothing is straightforward and few things are as they seem.

The book is unusual in that it begins with a series of dialogues, but it sets a high standard in the quality of its writing which Dibden was to maintain in later books.


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