Michael Dibdin (21 March 1947 – 30 March 2007) was a British crime writer, best known for inventing Aurelio Zen, the principal character in 11 crime novels set in Italy.
Dibdin was born in Wolverhampton, Staffordshire (now West Midlands), England. The son of a physicist, he was brought up from the age of seven in Lisburn, Northern Ireland, where he attended the Friends' School and was taught by James Simmons. He graduated with a degree in English from Sussex University, and then went to study for a Master's degree at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
Dibdin is best known for his Aurelio Zen mysteries, set in Italy. The first of these, Ratking, won the 'Gold Dagger' award of 1988. This series of detective novels provide a penetrating insight into the less visible aspects of Italian society over the last 20 years. The earlier books have a lightness of touch that gradually becomes much darker. The character of Zen himself is anti-heroic, which adds much to the books' irony and black humour. A final Zen book, End Games, appeared posthumously in July 2007.
He also wrote other detective works set in America and in the UK.
Dibdin eventually settled in Seattle, Washington, United States.
Dibdin was married three times, most recently to the novelist K. K. Beck. He died on 30 March 2007, in Seattle, following a short illness.
Aurelio Zen series
- Ratking (1989)
- Vendetta (1991)
- Cabal (1992)
- Dead Lagoon (1994)
- Cosi Fan Tutti (1996)
- A Long Finish (1998)
- Blood Rain (1999)
- And Then You Die (2002)
- Medusa (2003)
- Back to Bologna (2005)
- End Games (2007)
- The Last Sherlock Holmes Story (1978)
- A Rich Full Death (1986)
- The Tryst (1989)
- Dirty Tricks (1991)
- The Dying of the Light (1993)
- Dark Spectre (1995) ISBN 0-571-17523-6
- Christopher Hawtree (4 April 2007). "Guardian obituary". The Guardian. Retrieved 9 January 2021.
- Patricia Prandini Buckler (27 February 2014). Bloody Italy: Essays on Crime Writing in Italian Settings. McFarland. p. 177. ISBN 978-0-7864-5864-6.
- Michael Dibdin at British Council: Literature
- BBC obituary
- Daily Telegraph obituary
- January Magazine Interview: Michael Dibdin
- BBC Programme page: Zen
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