Michael Dibdin

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Michael Dibdin (21 March 1947 – 30 March 2007)[1] was a British crime writer, best known for inventing Aurelio Zen, the principal character in 11 crime novels set in Italy.

Early life[edit]

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.[1] 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.


After publishing his first novel, a Sherlock Holmes pastiche, he lived for four years in Italy, teaching at the university in Perugia.

Dibdin is best known for his Aurelio Zen mysteries, set in Italy.[2] 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.

Personal life[edit]

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[edit]

  1. Ratking (1989)
  2. Vendetta (1991)
  3. Cabal (1992)
  4. Dead Lagoon (1994)
  5. Cosi Fan Tutti (1996)
  6. A Long Finish (1998)
  7. Blood Rain (1999)
  8. And Then You Die (2002)
  9. Medusa (2003)
  10. Back to Bologna (2005)
  11. End Games (2007)

Other books[edit]

  • 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


  1. ^ a b Christopher Hawtree (4 April 2007). "Guardian obituary". The Guardian. Retrieved 9 January 2021.
  2. ^ Patricia Prandini Buckler (27 February 2014). Bloody Italy: Essays on Crime Writing in Italian Settings. McFarland. p. 177. ISBN 978-0-7864-5864-6.

External links[edit]