In the piazza, a man lies dead. No one will say if they witnessed his killing. This presents a challenge to the investigating officer, a man who earnestly believes in the values of a democratic and modern society. Indeed, his enquiries are soon blocked off by a wall of silence and vested interests; he must work against the community to save it and expose the truth.The narrative moves on two levels: that of the investigator, who reveals a chain of savage crimes; and that of the bystanders and watchers, of those complicit with secret power, whose gossipy, furtive conversations have only one end - to stop the truth coming out.
This novel about the Mafia is also a mesmerizing demonstration of how that organization sustains itself. It is both a beautifully, tautly written story and a brave act of denunciation.
LEONARDO SCIASCIA was born in Sicily in 1912 and died there in 1989. Like Joseph Roth, Sciascia worked with deceptively simple forms - books about crime, historical novels, political thrillers - and was a master of lucid and accessible prose. This polished surface conceals great depths of sophistication and an intense engagement with the moral and historical problems of modern Italy, especially of his native Sicily. His books are rooted in a particular culture; they speak to anyone who has ever wondered how people can endure unbearable injustice.