“The novels of Andrea Camilleri breathe out the sense of place, the sense of humour, and the sense of despair that fills the air of Sicily.”
Based on a true story, Andrea Camilleri’s new novel tells the story of a turn-of-the-century Sicilian scandal that reveals a pandemic that is with us still: a contagious refusal to accept the truth.
The lawyer and journalist Matteo Teresi discovers the existence of a secret sect whose members include priests, politicians, and men of influence. When the town’s churches are closed to the faithful, the “Sect of Angels” meets in the sacristy to carry out their unholy office: initiating devout virgins into the rites of married life. The hooded “elect” prey on their victims’ naivety, all the while promising them divine grace.
In 1901, at a time of immense changes in Sicilian society, the scandal breaks nationwide. But far from being hailed as a hero, Teresi is accused of disrupting the status quo. From the salons, churches and social clubs of Sicily to the country’s highest courts, Camilleri’s novel is a fast-paced, at times funny, passionately rendered portrait of the machinations of power and the difficult destiny of a local hero.