The relationship

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The context , also not published under the title Dead Judges Talk , is a novel by Leonardo Sciascia and was published in Italy in 1971 under the original title Il contesto . Sciascia himself describes the work as a parody .


Prosecutor Varga is murdered amid the investigation and trial of Reis. The inspector Americo Rogas, described by journalists as one of the most astute, is tasked with the investigation. A short time later, about a hundred kilometers away, judge Salza died in Ales and another four days later, judge Azar died in Chiro. Then there are the murdered Calamo, Resto and prosecutor Perro dies in Rome . In total, over ten public prosecutors and judges are murdered. Inspector Rogas investigates that Varga and Azar have worked together on legal proceedings in Algo, none of the others are unrelated. Roga's suspicions fall on the former pharmacist Cres, who allegedly tried to poison his wife with black rice and was then sentenced to five years years earlier. The conviction at the time was based on his wife's complaint, who, according to her, escaped the poison attack by accident by giving the food intended for her to the cat, which then died. Rogas, on the other hand, suspects that Cres was convicted of innocence and is now seeking revenge on the judges and prosecutors. His theory is based on the fact that Cres has apparently disappeared. These assumptions are not shared by the Supreme Court President , Riches. Riches sees the authorship for the attacks close to the PRI (Partito Rivoluzionario Internazionale) party and its general secretary Amar. After further investigations by Rogas, the trail leads back to the Supreme Court, where Rogas suspects the suspect Cres. He also suspects Riches to be the author of the crimes. After consultations with his friend Cusan and the announcement that he would meet with Amar, Cusan did not hear from his friend for several days until the news spread that Rogas and Amar had died in a museum. Shortly thereafter, Riches also died after an attack in his house and Cusan feared for his life until he was informed by the PRI Vice Secretary with the words “ reason of state ” and “party reason” that it was the wrong time for the revolution. Amar's murder is attributed to Rogas due to incorrect protocols.


  • Although the book is a classic Sicilian Mafia novel for some critics, Sciascia emphasizes in its afterword that the action takes place in an imaginary environment. According to him, it could be at home in Sicily , in Italy , but equally well all over the world.
  • Sciascia claims to have kept the text in a drawer for two years. At first he enjoyed the topic, but in the end it wasn't anymore.


  • This crime classic by the Sicilian author Leonardo Sciascia combines the usual crackling tension with intellectual discussions about the nature of power, about the breakdown of principles and the corruptibility of politics. Dietmar Adam [1]
  • For readers who mainly want to “switch off” from everyday life while reading, “The Context” can only be recommended to a limited extent, despite its irony-riddled opening, due to the somewhat strange ending. Otherwise Sciascia shines in an inhabited manner, although in my opinion “ The Day of the Owl ” and the already mentioned novel “Dead on Order” are preferable. Nevertheless: Sciascia is (or was) one of the great storytellers in Italy and so this work also offers entertaining entertainment on the topics mentioned above that is well worth reading. [2]



The work by Sciascia was filmed in 1976 under the direction of Francesco Rosi under the title The Power and its Price . The main actors were Alain Cuny , Fernando Rey , Max von Sydow , Charles Vanel and Lino Ventura . The original title was Cadaveri eccellenti (Italian).

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