We didn't get to read a Michael Dibdin novel in the course, but I may change that next time around. Dibdin died in Seattle this week of undisclosed causes. Raised in England, Dibdin wound up living in Italy for a long time, where he taught English at the University of Perugia in the 1980s. After getting fired by a new program director, Dibdin published his first novel, "Ratking," in his early 40, and then wrote 10 more, each set in a different Italian city. Dibdin's Italy is as noir as it gets. He once said that Italian society "is collusion. They're all guilty. There' s always a deal being made. 'I know you're corrupt and you know I'm corrupt, and I know you know,' etc." In the midst of a crooked, mobbed up, violent society that is equally saturated with beauty and pleasure, the detective, Aurelio Zen, watches rather than strikes back. "It was a face that gave nothing away yet seemed always to tremble on the brink of some expression that never quite appeared. Zen's subjects found themselves shut up with a man who barely seemed to exist, yet who mirrored back to them the innermost secrets of their hearts."
R.I.P. Mr. Dibdin. Luckily Aurelio Zen lives on. The 11th novel, End Games, is due out this later year. See also a list of the Zen novels. The Guardian has a nice obituary.
thanks to Jocelyn Y. Stewart at the Los Angeles Times for citations and other material.