This book is suffused with sadness and frustration at the complicity of politicians with the mafia. The hero of the story, captain Bellodi, is investigating the murder of a local construction contractor, and soon learns that the contractor is the only one in town who has refused to play along with the mafia; he is a man of principle who wants to do an honest job, and refuses to do the shoddy work required on mafia-obtained contracts. He is shot down early on a Saturday morning, and it doesn’t take long to figure out that the mafia is behind the murder. Proving it is another matter, as Bellodi soon finds out.
Bellodi is a northerner who is only beginning to understand the omertà that pervades Sicilian society from bottom to top - a silence born not just of fear of mafia reprisals, but one that springs from the Sicilian view of “family” as the sole source of authority, with the state as a mere nuisance that must be tolerated but never helped. And mafia connections at the highest levels of government ensure that nothing will disrupt the pervasive corruption and crime in Sicily.
Well, this was all mid 20th century. Surely it’s all different now, 50 years later. Right?