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I live on the ocean, write women's fiction, love to read so much that it's an addiction rather than a hobby (I read an average of a book a day). I live on the wet west coast so it's a good thing that I like to walk in the rain.

Monday, August 22, 2011

TV Review - Aurelio Zen: Ratking

A couple of weekends ago, after a long Sunday writing and walking and shopping, I was flipping through the channels.

One of my first stops is always PBS - especially on weekend evenings - because they often have terrific programs brought over from BBC, who make, to my mind, some of the best TV ever, starting way back with the original Brideshead Revisited.

I stopped when I got to Channel 27 because there was Alan Cumming talking about Masterpiece Mystery. I had no idea about the show, had never heard of Aurelio Zen, but Alan convinced me to stick it out and I can't tell how delighted I was to do so.

I was hypnotized within 60 seconds. I'm not kidding. Aurelio Zen: Ratking (first of all, who could resist the title?) is 90 minutes of perfect television. It stars Rufus Sewell, who is one of those actors who just seems to get better and better. The story is convoluted and complicated and fascinating.

You're never quite sure whether the good guys are really bad or the bad guys are really good - is he lying to Aurelio? is she cheating? what about the other police officers? the politicians? Nothing is what it seems and everything is wrong.

The writing is good, all the actors - from the smallest of bit parts to the largest roles - are terrific.

And like most BBC TV productions, they don't put on accents. This show is set in Rome but with the exception of a few Italian actors, all the parts are played without resorting to fake Italian accents. Bravo!

Rome is beautiful - as perfect as she can be in the summer sun - and her part in this production is as important as that of Aurelio Zen.

The other thing this production did for me was to send me back to the books of Michael Dibdin. I had read a few of his mysteries 10 or 12 years ago and had really enjoyed them (though no Aurelio Zen books). Somehow, he fell off my radar.

Well, he's right back on it and I've ordered all the Zen books (there aren't that many), and will probably go on to the balance of his books when I finish them.

I'm looking forward to reading them and I'll keep you posted as I do.


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