The Day of the OwlBy Leonardo Sciascia
This short novel about the mafia is also a mesmerizing demonstration of how that organization sustains itself. It is both a beautifully written story and a brave act of denunciation. A dark-suited man is shot as he runs for a bus in the piazza of a small town. The investigating officer is a man who believes in the values of a democratic and modern society, and soon finds himself up against a wall of silence and vested interests. The narrative moves on two levels: that of the investigator, who reveals a chain of nasty 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.