Michael Dibdin is best known for his Aurelio Zen mysteries, set in Italy. The first of these, Ratking, won the Crime Writers Association 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.