An anonymous, undistinguished magistrate--packed off to Sardinia to investigate the cyanide poisoning of a fellow jurist--lands in the middle of a contemporary Italian Citizen Kane, with obvious echoes of DÅrrenmatt. It's Holy Week 1978, and as the Red Brigade issues its communiquÇs on the condition of kidnapped industrialist Aldo Moro, the judge digging into the death of Don Valerio Garau faces contradictory revelations about the dead man at every turn. Was he really the teenaged seducer of an eight-year-old girl during a backstage interlude at the Little Follies? Was he involved with Dr. Lauretta Martinez, the magistrate who was sharing his restaurant table when he collapsed? Was he still carrying on with his ex-wife, Niki Solinas? Or was he fulfilling a fellow jurist's description of him as ``a seducer...wanting everything and refusing to choose'' by taking up with still another lover? How had he come by the archeological objects found in his apartment? What effect had his sister Bibi's suicide had on him, and what was his connection to the Communist Party? The more information the narrator gathers about Don Valerio, the more pervasive becomes his sense of uncertainty, elegantly mirrored by Shepley's translation--and the clearer grow its parallels to such wildly disparate stories as the passion of Jesus, Don Giovanni's insatiable quest for romantic conquest, and the Italian bureaucracy's hopelessly muddled attempts to secure Moro's release. An anti-detective story that could score with literate Americans forlornly clutching their dogeared Maigrets.