End Game is Michael Dibdin’s last book in his inspector Aurelio Zen series set in Italy. I don’t know if it was intended to be the end of the series, but with Dibdin’s recent death, this is the book that sees Zen off into the sunset, and one can see (sometimes only by squinting) notes of farewell scattered throughout the book.
Zen defies the police bureaucracy, a recurring note in the series, to solve the mystery of the death of an American man, supposedly in Calabria to scout for shooting locations for a movie. As Dibdin has done so many times in the past, he again gives his non-Italian audience a peek at the different cultures that make up the Italian population. Calabrians, if this tale is a true indication, keep their own counsel, speak their own language, and believe in the concept of legacy, both good and bad.
I enjoyed this bittersweet end game of Dibdin’s. I even forgive him the creation of a rather cartoonish multi-gazillionaire character whose “whim” propels the story. Thankfully, the author gives his readers a satisfying last look at Zen right through to the last few paragraphs.
(Currently available in hard cover only.)