September 6, 2011

My wife and I have turned into loyal viewers of Masterpiece Mystery on Sunday nights. The three episodes of Aurelio Zen’s adventures were particularly satisfying so I ran over to Powell’s Bookstore and bought the first book in Michael Dibdin‘s series, Ratking. Interestingly, it’s not the first episode in the TV series, but I don’t want to give too much away. Let’s just say that in this world there are some very rich people, and some very corrupt people, and because this is Italy, everything overlaps with everything else. In other words, we are dealing with a ratking:

Ch. 3 (paperback p. 76)

“On the contrary, the condition of this conspiracy is that we’re all part of it,” Bartocci retorted. “It’s like a ratking.”

“A what?”

“A ratking. Do you know what that is?”

Zen shrugged. “The king rat, I suppose. The dominant animal in the pack.”

Bartocci shook his head. “That’s what everyone thinks. But they’re wrong. A ratking is something that happens when too many rats have to live in too small a space under too much pressure. Their tails become entwined and the more they strain and stretch to free themselves the tighter grows the knot binding them, until at last it becomes a solid mass of embedded tissue. And the creature thus formed, as many as thirty rats tied together by the tail, is called a ratking. You wouldn’t expect such a living contradiction to survive, would you? That’s the most amazing thing of all. Most of the ratkings that are discovered, in the plaster of old houses or beneath the floorboards of a barn, are healthy and flourishing.”

(Oh! Did I mention that after I brought the book home and read it, I discovered we already owned a copy?)


One Response to “Ratking”

  1. […] Vendetta, the second novel in Michael Dibdin’s Zen series, Zen is assigned to “solve” the brutal murder of a […]

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