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A DEATH IN MALTA by Paul Caruana Galizia Kirkus Star


An Assassination and a Family's Quest for Justice

by Paul Caruana Galizia

Pub Date: Nov. 7th, 2023
ISBN: 9780593543733
Publisher: Riverhead

A son’s moving account of his quest for justice for his mother, who was murdered in 2017.

Galizia is the youngest of three sons of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, who died in a car bombing near her home in Bidnija, Malta, after a risky career exposing government corruption and graft. In this poignant tribute to his mother, the author methodically builds on a history of Malta as a place historically riven by tensions. The island was occupied for several centuries by Arabs, then European Catholics, then English Protestants, and it grew into a haves and have-nots capital of offshore wealth from Italy. Although Malta gained independence from England in 1964, the inhabitants still speak an Arab dialect and suffer from a clannishness that appalled the author’s activist mother, who became radicalized after she was arrested for participating in protests as a young woman. Married to a lawyer, Daphne moved to the small hamlet of Bidnija just as her career as a newspaper political columnist took off. Malta joined the European Union in 2003. However, as the author writes, “the deeper change—a transition to a true liberal democracy based on secular rather than Catholic ethics, on a civic identity rather than a partisan one—never arrived.” The author shows how access to global markets was exploited by politicians like former prime minister Joseph Muscat, whom Daphne exposed selling favors and passports, money laundering, and deporting refugees from North Africa. She had been working on a case involving a power company, Electrogas, when the car bomb killed her. Along with his brothers and father, the author went to the Council of Europe, garnering international support for their case against the Maltese government. After two years, they were able to prosecute the middlemen involved in the assassination, and the public scandal forced Muscat’s resignation in 2020.

A memorable book of a courageous crusade for justice.