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A Long Finish Paperback – February 29, 2000


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Product Details

  • Series: Vintage Crime/Black Lizard
  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage (February 29, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375704019
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375704017
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 5.1 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #279,732 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Fresh from the successful investigation of a series of crimes in Naples, that admirably devious and dour Italian police inspector Aurelio Zen returns to his office in Rome to discover that a new set of bureaucrats is in power--with plans to punish him for his success by sending to him Sicily to fight the Mafia. Fate, in the form of a powerful film director, offers a way out: Zen is to go instead to Piedmont, where the murder of a noted winemaker--apparently by his son and heir--threatens the future of one of the film director's favorite vintages. Even though Zen is a Venetian by birth and drinks "fruity, fresh vino sfuso from the Friuli intended to be consumed within the year" as the director sarcastically notes, he can still see how important the case can be to his future--especially if it keeps him away from deadly Sicily. Not only wine but also truffles are involved in a growing series of murders in the area around Alba, and Michael Dibdin (an English writer who lives in Seattle but must spend lots of time in Italy) once again manages to capture the heart, soul, and stomach of the region. Zen, whose personal life is gradually revealed and expanded in each book in the series, finds out several surprising things about being a father in this one. Previous Zen encounters: Cosi Fan Tutti, Dead Lagoon, Ratking, Vendetta. --Dick Adler --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Publishers Weekly

Family truths and family lies, as gnarled and hidden as prized local truffles, beat at the heart of the newest case for Italian police inspector Aurelio Zen, last seen in Cosi Fan Tutti (1997). Sent in early fall from Rome to the Piedmont to determine who killed a local vintner in time to save the dead man's vintage, Zen is out of his realm in many ways. He doesn't know the language of wine or wine making, nor is he privy to the generations-old secrets that may lie behind the mutilation and murder of wealthy, unpopular Aldo Vincenzo, whose DOC Barbaresco is the best wine of the region. In jail, but only for a while, is the victim's son, Manlio, who fought loudly with his father the evening before the body was discovered. The subsequent deaths of a local truffle hunter and another vintner provide clues, but Zen's course is twisted, complicated further by his continuing distress over his girlfriend's recent abortion, by anonymous phone calls he receives at odd locations, by unexpected bouts of somnambulism and by the intimations of a local hashish-smoking, harpsichord-playing physician that the policeman harbors a deep-seated psychological problem. Even so, Zen is a masterful investigator, who steps well beyond the bounds of accepted interrogation to ferret out the decades-old relationships of love and deep resentment that surface in the current sequence of murders. The path to his ultimate success in this layered case is, as usual, pure pleasure for Dibdin's readers.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 28 people found the following review helpful By taking a rest HALL OF FAME on August 16, 2000
Format: Paperback
In addition to all the wonderful reasons that make Michael Dibdin a pleasure to read, "A Long Finish", adds content for the gourmet. The wines of Alba and the "white diamonds" as the local whites truffles are reverently called, are components of a mystery that exposes another of the unconventional Italian priorities that Aurelio Zen constantly confronts.
The question of whether a Father was murdered by his Son is of little concern to those who pull the strings that bring Aurelio to Alba. The Son must be released, as only he can bring in the grapes that create the wine so desperately desired by a prominent Italian and many others. To devotees of wine I mean no offense, but the descriptions offered at a wine tasting often make for great humor. "Nice bouquet, great legs, fingers and thighs a bit weak, but they are buttressed by a boisterous bosom. A fruity opening, a woody polyester transition, and finally a finish that is crisp yet smooth with a suggestion of cinnamon, the barest hint of the citric, and finally dishwater".
Why has a top crime investigator from Rome been brought, because "he appears to be intelligent, devious and effective, compromised by only a regrettable tendency to insist on a conventional conception of morality at certain crucial moments". So with that career making resume material in hand, "Dottore" is off to get the grapes bottled.
This really is one of the best in the series, the only installment I have yet to read is "Cabal" and if it meets this performance the collection of writing is nearly perfect. The story has all the murders so unique, the guilty, the innocent, the guilty that wish they were, and all the rest of the maze that Mr. Dibdin is rightfully noted for.
He also can really describe wine unlike my feeble attempt.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 18, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Since Michael Dibdin is one of my favorite writers, I expected excellence and was not disappointed. Combines with dark humor, a twisted story and facinating background on Italy's wine industry. Dibdin's writing style is beautiful; his descriptive narrative is the essence of every writing teachers' favorite saying: "Don't tell us - SHOW us".
Two warnings: as he often does, Dibdin starts the book with a purposely opaque and confusing first chapter which is clarified as the story unfolds. Also, I found the book to be far more violent than his past works. Still eagerly awaiting Zen's next assignment.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Richard A. Davis on February 6, 2001
Format: Paperback
Mr. Dibdin has done it again! The Aurelio Zen mysteries are taking us all over Italy. From Perugia in "Ratking", Sardinia in "Vendetta", Rome in "Cabal", Venice in "Dead Lagoon", Naples in "Cosi Fan Tutti" and now Alba in "A Long Finish". I think these books keep getting better and better. Aurelio Zen is my favorite detective. Keep 'em coming Mr. Dibdin!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Lizard on February 6, 2014
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Having read most of Dibdin's novels and enjoyed them immensely, Michael Kitchen's narration of A Long Finish has completely won me over to the audio form of the story. The author's ability to weave a circular story made up of many different strands, without irritating the reader, fascinates me, and makes a welcome escape from the usual linear form. The build up of intrigue among Italian wine farmers and truffle hunters, the constant inclusion of good food as part of the plot, and the relaxed, laid back approach of Aurelio Zen - despite his admitted eccentricities - are all grist to Dibdins' sense of a good story. Kitchen must be one of the best narrators of this kind of novel. I'm a fan for life.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By propertius on November 4, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Aurelian Zen (the name is from Venice as is mentioned in all the books)is a refreshing change of pace or rather taste than the usual Italian detective. As such, it is an acquired taste. Aurelio comes to the solutions of the mysteries by subtle reflection of the surroundings and the facts more of a reductive manner than a deductive manner. If this is the result of some type of "Zen" philosophy of his does mot matter and is never explicatively stated.

Naturally, there is a rich atmosphere of not simply of Italian shading but also of regional influences. This story begins with a rather mundane (to the reader) finding of truffles at the end of the second world war and in a typically Zen-like manner intertwines with a present day murder. How Aurelio became to be involved is the result of political influence at the highest level and a promising grape harvest, how complex!

The Aurelio Zen character is a pleasant enigma and with a little patience a most rewarding vintage to be savored.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Sussman on March 14, 2012
Format: Audio CD
This is a review is for audio CD of the book of the same name

Zen's need to leave Rome lands him in yet another unorthodox assignment: to find evidence that clears the jailed son of an important wine-growing family, who is accused of brutal murder, in time to harvest what is anticipated to be a great and profitable vintage
Our detective is confronted with small town closed ranks and a wall of silence that could only happen in a small, remote rural town, a close knit community where everyone knows the secrets of everyone else. Examples of which are shown via grappling with tangled relationships, bitter resentments and age old grudges reaching back to the post-war years. As with Zen nothing is straight forward as his investigations are further distracted by meeting the young woman who thinks she is his daughter.

A reasonably well narrated audiobook and unabridged which is always a big bonus! One of the more entertaining audiobooks in the Zen series of stories. Well worth a try, if not to buy, then to borrow from the library. Enjoy!
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