Naples is by far the worst pit of corruption and schenanigans that we have seen Aurelio Zen confront, and the entire book ends up much closer to Opera Buffa than Opera Seria. Cases of mistaken identity, romantic entanglements and cross-entanglements, betrayals of all stripes, all set against a backdrop of the city of the Camorra.
After reading other people's reviews of this novel, I set my expectations low; therefore, it was a wonderful surprise to find out how much I enjoyed the book!
Aurelio Zen is sent in disgrace to Naples where he heads up a somewhat disreputable police station. He turns a blind eye to all the shady dealings going on around him while he tries to put in the hours until retirement. Unfortunately, he gets unwillingly caught up in some major crimes. Along the way, he is mistaken for a mafia boss and he also tries to help out a friend who thinks her girls are too attracted to some "criminal types".
I found the story entertaining, humorous, and suspenseful. The reader must expect to concentrate, however, because Dibdin uses some difficult vocabulary throughout ( jejune, librettist, segue, and many others like these). If you enjoyed the other Zen novels, I believe you'll like this one too.
Entertaining read. "delirious combination of the deadly serious and the seriously comic" is an apt description.
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