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Back to Bologna

Michael Dibdin

Back to Bologna is the tenth book in the Inspector Zen series from the ‘maestro of crime writing’, Michael Dibdin, set in the heart of the historic city of Bologna. Now a major TV series on BBC One from the producers of DCI Banks and Wallander featuring Rufus Sewell.

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Turning to the window, Zen eyed his spectral other, so smugly solid and substantial. He felt as if he were the reflection and that image the original. ‘A Shadow of his former self,’ as the stock phrase went. A hopeless invalid. A sad case.

When the corpse of the shady industrialist who owns the local football team is found both shot and stabbed, Italian police inspector Aurelio Zen is called to Bologna to oversee the investigation. Recovering slowly from surgery, and fleeing an equally painful crisis in his personal life, Zen is only too happy to take on what at first appears to be a routine and relatively undemanding assignment.

But soon a world-famous university professor is shot with the same gun, and the case threatens to spin out of control…

Critic Reviews

A first rate whodunit, which memorably exposes the dark side of Emilia Romagna.' - Ian Thomson, Sunday Telegraph

Critic Reviews

Italy with all its foibles is once again expertly dissected.' - Maxim Jakubowski, Guardian

Critic Reviews

'Back to Bologna has many of the old Dibdin hallmarks: wonderful writing, wit, subtlety, a sense of mischief and exquisite cameos of Italy and Italians ... clever, readable and enjoyable and a whole lot better than most crime fiction being churned out today.' - Marcel Berlins, The Times

Critic Reviews

Pure pleasure from the first page to the last.' - Mark Sanderson, Evening Standard

Critic Reviews

Barely a page goes by without a big laugh. Yet there is no denying that, at heart, this is a morose novel. Zen himself may be none too healthy, but the country he polices, torn between the hollow signifiers of a past it can no longer have and the reamed out cynicism of a future it will never want, is looking more and more like the sick man of Europe. I can't wait until Dibdin takes us there again.' - Christopher Bray, Daily Telegraph

Critic Reviews

One of the most readable detective thrillers of the year.' - Sainsbury's Magazine


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,…

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