Thursday, April 05, 2007

Michael Dibdin 1947-2007

Michael Dibdin, author of the Aurelio Zen detective novels, died last week at the age of 60. Crime fiction blog The Rap Sheet, pays tribute.
I had the opportunity to talk with Michael Dibdin only once, shortly after the publication in 1997 of The Vintage Book of Classic Crime, a rather curious literary sampler he’d edited. He was by then living in rainy Seattle, after meeting (at a 1993 writers’ conference in Spain) and then marrying local mystery author Kathrine Beck (aka K.K. Beck). I found Dibdin to be a bit gruff at first, delivering clipped responses that he evidently believed would be quite sufficient for an interviewer with no more than passing interest in crime fiction. After we’d spent a good while talking about his work and the genre at a coffee shop in Seattle’s historic Pioneer Square district, though, he realized that I was no general assignment reporter, but instead had a longtime interest in the very variety of story to which he had devoted himself. We then carried on for another hour or so, exchanging the names of favorite recent books and talking about some of the acknowledged giants and lesser-known stars of this genre, many of whose work figured into his Vintage collection.

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