After the news of Donald Hamiltonís death late last year was confirmed two days ago, the world of mystery fiction has been rocked a second time this week. Michael Dibdin, creator of the deeply idiosyncratic Venetian police detective Aurelio Zen, passed away last Friday, March 30th, only eight days after his 60th birthday.

   Rather than duplicate the effort, I strongly recommend you visit The Rap Sheet, where J. Kingston Pierce has done his usual excellent job of putting together a series of links and quotes about Mr. Dibdin, who certainly left us far too young.

Holmes

   While his first book was a well-regarded Sherlock Holmes pastiche, one in which the master detective confronted Jack the Ripper, Aurelio Zen is the character Mr. Dibdinís career has been centered around ever since. And from what critics around the world have said, his reputation, were it to depend on only this one creation, is secure for a long time to come. Iíll quote only one section of the obituary in the Telegraph, as posted by Jeff at The Rap Sheet:

    “Aurelio Zenís initials offered a clue to his creatorís methods and motives; in the course of the series, Dibdin pieced together an A to Z of contemporary Italy, a composite of finely-drawn observations about the country and its people. The picture he painted, however, was no rose-tinted idyll: his tenth Zen mystery, Back to Bologna (2005), opened with a football club tycoon slumped dead over the wheel of his Audi, a bullet in his brain and a Parmesan cheese knife rammed through his chest.”

Bologna

   Michael Dibdin was born in England but lived in the Seattle area in the US since his marriage in 1995 to fellow mystery writer K. K. Beck. The following bibliography of his crime fiction, as expanded from Crime Fiction IV, by Allen J. Hubin, lists only the British editions:

      # The Last Sherlock Holmes Story (n.) Cape 1978 [Sherlock Holmes; London; 1888]
      # A Rich Full Death (n.) Cape 1986 [Florence; 1855]
      # Ratking (n.) Faber 1988 [Insp. Aurelio Zen; Italy]

Ratking

      # The Tryst (n.) Faber 1989 [England]
      # Vendetta (n.) Faber 1990 [Insp. Aurelio Zen; Italy]
      # Dirty Tricks (n.) Faber 1991 [Oxford; Academia]
      # Cabal (n.) Faber 1992 [Insp. Aurelio Zen; Rome]
      # The Dying of the Light (n.) Faber 1993 [England]
      # Dead Lagoon (n.) Faber 1994 [Insp. Aurelio Zen; Venice]

Lagoon

      # Dark Spectre (n.) Faber 1995 [U.S. Northwest]
      # Cosi Fan Tutti (n.) Faber 1996 [Insp. Aurelio Zen; Naples]
      # A Long Finish (n.) Faber 1998 [Insp. Aurelio Zen; Italy]
      # Blood Rain (n.) Faber 1999 [Insp. Aurelio Zen; Sicily]
      # Thanksgiving (n.) Faber 2000 [Nevada]
      # Medusa (n.) Faber 2003 [Insp. Aurelio Zen; Italian Alps]
      # Back to Bologna (n.) Faber 2005 [Insp. Aurelio Zen; Bologna]

   Again according to the Telegraph: ďBack to Bologna was Dibdinís most recent title, but he has an 11th (and probably last) Zen novel, End Games, due out in the UK in July and in the States in November.Ē