Il giorno della civetta (The Day of the Owl) by Leonardo Sciascia
Il giorno della civetta, set in the early 1960s, tells the story of a carabinieri captain investigating the mafia killing of a local building contractor in a small town in western Sicily. Captain Bellodi pursues his enquiries honestly and intelligently, without realizing that his intervention will stir up a hornets' nest. There are powerful figures who have a vested interest in making sure not only that Bellodi's inquiries will come to nothing, but that the very existence of the mafia itself can be denied. Leonardo Sciascia shows us not only the police operations but how shadowy, unidentified figures combine to frustrate Bellodi's investigation. Sciascia's intention in writing the book was to bring to as wide an audience as possible an awareness of the problem of the mafia and its hold, not only on Sicily, but on important areas of public life: the police, the judiciary, politics and even the Catholic Church. He succeeds brilliantly in this picture of his own beloved island.