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October 5, 2007; Page W5



By Michael Dibdin
(Pantheon, 335 pages, $23.95)


'End Games' features the capable and circumspect Italian police commissioner Aurelio Zen, whom we have come to know over a whole series of novels. Michael Dibdin's text, as usual, evokes not so much the terse action scenes of hardboiled masters as the word-drunk prose of such language-besotted authors as Anthony Burgess, Vladimir Nabokov and Lawrence Durrell.


[End Games]
 [ ... ]

Alas, 'End Games' is aptly titled, for Michael Dibdin died in March, in Seattle, at the age of 60. He was a stellar example of the sort of formidable talent who may always take shelter within the accommodating genre of crime fiction. The next time you hear a snob speak condescendingly of the detective story, tell them to go take a hike -- or to read a Dibdin novel.

--Tom Nolan


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