During my recent sojourn overseas (Millport) I was shocked to open the obituaries section in the Times to find one for one of my favourite British crime writers. Michael Dibdin, who brought the world the Venetian sleuth Aurelio Zen, was no more.
What I liked about his books was how deeply rooted in their locations they were and also how authentically he captured Italian attitudes. In addition, as a real Venezian, there was usually a bottle of grappa involved somewhere. I am sure it was Zen who claimed a cure for a bad cold was to drink a good bottle of red wine and a whole clove of garlic. Certainly worth a try, if not likely to boost your chances with the opposite sex.
The news reached me just as I was finishing Back to Bologna, the latest Zen novel I think. Which featured both football and grappa on its pages. Hard to think of a better combination than that. Addio, Zen.