Death of an Inquisitor and Other Stories

Translation by Ian Thomson of three fictionalized essays by Sicilian crime writer Leonardo Sciascia.

From the introduction:

“Translation is not always satisfactory; Cervantes claimed it was simply the other side of a tapestry, a frayed and ragged version of the original. I hope I have not rendered Leonardo Sciascia that disservice: Death of an Inquisitor, an investigation into the murder in 1657 of a minister from the Holy Inquisition, was the story (or fictionalized essay) dearest to Sciascia among all his writings. ‘The explanation’, he once wrote, ‘is that it is an unfinished book, one which I shall never finish, that I am always tempted to rewrite and never shall rewrite because I’m always tempted waiting to discover something more.

By this Sciascia meant some other clue to the motive behind the murder –  a new intuition, perhaps, from the documents already scrutinized in the State Archives of Spain and Sicily, or some clue whose meaning becomes clear ‘between sleeping and waking, as happens to Simenon’s Maigret in the midst of an investigation.’ The reference which Sciascia makes to the famous detective is not coincidental: each of the stories collected here unfolds in the form of a judicial enquiry or inquest, in which the forensic skills acquired by Sciascia as a former lawyer are brought to bear on some mystery unresolved since the seventeenth century…”