A Cada Cual Lo Suyo

ISBN: 8420605921
ISBN 13: 9788420605920
By: Leonardo Sciascia

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About this book

In un paese dell'entroterra siciliano, una lettera anonima minaccia di morte il farmacista, uno che "viveva tranquillo, non aveva mai avuto questioni, non faceva politica". L'uomo pensa a uno scherzo, ma la minaccia si avvera puntualmente, al termine di una giornata di caccia. Un delitto che sembra non avere perché, ed offre pochi appigli al professore di liceo che, quasi mosso da un astratta passione intellettuale, si ritrova a cercarne il bandolo in una rete di silenzi e di complicità. Un romanzo sulla mafia, e al tempo stesso un "giallo" amaro e ironico in cui personaggi, paesaggio e dialogo hanno un nitido rilievo tra vibrata denuncia e compiuta raffigurazione poetica...

Reader's Thoughts


Sciascia, Leonardo. TO EACH HIS OWN. (1968; this ed. 2000). *****. This is the first novel I have read by this author, and I am impressed enough to track down more of his books. Sciascia (1921-1989) was born in Racalmuto, Sicily. He published several novels and collections of short stories starting in the 1950s, most of them quasi-detective novels in which the main character was not a detective, but an ordinary citized of one kind or another. In this novel, a pharmacist from a small town in Sicily and his hunting companion were murdered while the two of them were out hunting. On the day before, the pharmacist had received a note – cut out from a newspaper – that stated: “This letter is your death sentence. To avenge what you have done, you will die.” The pharmicist and the postman who delivered the letter laughed it all off as some kind of sick joke. It wasn’t. Onto the scene comes Professor Laurana, a teacher of Italian and literature at the local high school. He becomes curious about the double murder of the pharmacist and his companion, a local doctor, and begins to seek out clues to solve the mystery. In his efforts to learn more about both of the murdered men, Laurana begins to stick his nose into places where it doesn’t belong, and begins to put a bunch of suppositions together that, although he doesn’t feel comfortable with them, begin to make sense to him and ultimately point to the killer and the motive. This is a well crafted novel that explores the nature of the average Sicilian’s attitude towards authority, sex, and greed. It provides a keen insight into the mindset of the people of Sicily, especially as regards the doings of all of their neighbors in a small town. Highly recommended.


Bookshelves: read, mysteries, 1001-books, world-literatureRead on: Jul 7, 2014 - Jul 7, 2014kristel's ReviewA literary crime novel by Sicilian novelist Leonardo Sciascia. An anonymous letter arrives to the pharmacist and it states "This letter is your death sentence. To avenge what you have done you will die." The pharmacist can't think of anything that he has done and decides it is a joke. He and his hunting doctor friend are found shot dead on their hunting trip. The police can find no reason and therefore blame the pharmacist of an affair with a young girl who was picking up prescriptions frequently, ruining her life and the pharmacist widow's life. A high school teacher with a literary bent, notices a clue and out of curiosity begins to seek out more clues in the mystery. His amateur sleuthing results in unexpected, tragic results. The story was published in 1966 in Italian and it was translated to English in 1968 under the title of A Man's Blessing. The edition I read was published in 2000 and translated by W. S. Di Piero. It is a very quick read. I read it in a day (I am not a fast reader). It is 158 pages.


In this short masterpiece, Sicilian writer Leonardo Sciascia uses the convention of the detective story to expose a web of entrenched connections between the mafia and politics, religion, the law and society. Curiosity and a perverse need to be something of a “know it all” leads Professor Laurana to follow the thread of a clue to a double murder in his small town. This lonely, sexually repressed bachelor is an odd man out : an intellectual long on book learning and short on street smarts, who reads Voltaire but isn’t always able to read the faces and motives of his friends and acquaintances. This is a brilliantly written story of nasty, brutish behavior with some memorably funny passages mixed in. Reader warning: the introduction has a spoiler, so you may want to read it as an afterword.


The poetic yet reportage-style prose of Sciascia is unparalleled; every sentence reads like a masterpiece to me-- even this: "August 23, 1964, was the last blessed day pharmacist Manno spent on this earth. According to the coroner, he lived it to sunset." A story about an amateur detective, the Mafia, political corruption, an entire town's silent (and eerie) implication in murder, a critique of Sicilian society and its secretiveness, and a chilling study of omertà. Curiosity is a very dangerous thing for a character to have in this book and due measures are taken to ensure that the truth is not exposed.


I don't often read whodunnits, but this is probably as far from a traditional murder mystery as you could get. The crime appears motiveless and the victim blameless, but everyone has their theory about what really happened, and their assumptions and reactions shed more light on them and Sicilian society than on the truth about the crime. A truth of sorts is revealed towards the end, but both the solution to the puzzle and the fate of the protagonist come across as more of a punchline to a particularly dark and bitter joke than a cathartic climax..


I started in Italian (for my Survey of Italian Lit and Culture class), but I just don’t have the time I wish I did to really study the text and understand everything, so I ended up just buying it in English, so then I was able to bang it out in a couple of days. SO. INTERESTING! I TOTALLY knew who was guilty the whole time, and I knew what would happen, and it did, but that didn’t make it uninteresting. It’s definitely a tragedy, but I wouldn’t expect anything less from a Sicilian author from the 1960’s. I can’t really say much else about this book without spoilers, but I did enjoy it.


Interesting take on the detective story - a crime whose mystery is undone at the end, not in the usual way of unveiling villain but by showing the crime as somehow underwhelming or insignificant. It's a really smart and subtle reversal. Closing scene is strongest of book, and, even on a second reading, still surprised me. Economically told. If you're looking for high drama, lots of action, this prob isn't a good bet though.

Renato Mite

Un mistero e un delitto si dipanano attraverso le vicende di una piccola città, dove tutti si conoscono e le chiacchiere girano. Per alcuni il mistero è risolto, altri sanno qual è la vera storia e se ne tengono lontani, e c'è chi vuole risolvere il mistero per pura curiosità e scoprirà la verità a caro prezzo. Una storia con un ritmo lento e inesorabile in cui semplicità e complessità si intrecciano, il lettore saprà infine la verità ma rimarrà comunque con in bocca l'amaro della realtà in cui le soluzioni rimangono taciute.


This is a great mystery. With an obvious nod to L'Etranger by Albert Camus, Sciascia further shows how the contemporary Italian detective fiction writer understands the existential detective. This is more than just film noir caricatures. It is short, taut and to the point. This means it is not the encyclopedic mystery of the equally great Umberto Eco's Name of the Rose. But it's another wonderful example of the thinking detective with a no-nonsense attitude.

Lynne King

I keep on coming across books on Goodreads that I already own and it is like being on a "magical mystery tour".I read this book when I had a great love for anything Sicilian (I still do in fact), be it books on cookery, travel, biographies, history, the mafia, bandits, etc. The list is just endless. And then to go to Sicily and just breathe in the atmosphere and culture is just mind-blowing - well to me anyway.So when I rediscovered "To Each His Own" by this incredible Sicilian author this morning I was delighted. It is a novella and only 146 pages long in the hardback and quick to reread.The story is relatively simple and concerns a pharmacist called Manno who receives a letter stating quite categorically "This letter is your death sentence. To avenge what you have done, you will die". I wonder if something got lost in the translation here?Well I won't tell you what exactly happened but the inevitable did, of course; and it is Professor Laurana who starts delving into this and soon meets Signora Luisa in the cemetery.From then on, the plot thickens to quote a cliché and the ending was certainly not what I had imagined.A great read.


Happens in Sicilia, like Montalbano series. With a light tone, describes a quite frightening story. Except for the fact that there are no smartphones, the storyline, language, theme and characters could be nowadays.

Andrea Bovino

Breve ma intenso. Sciascia propone al lettore un romanzo/giallo pieno di tratti caratteristici della sua terra, analizzando la situazione politica e malavitosa della stessa, senza però tralasciare aspetti culturali. Scorrevole e sintetico. Il finale non è sorprendente ma molto riflessivo. Consigliato.


La Sicilia di Sciascia è da leggere. I film di Petri sono da guardare. La grandezza di Volonté è da amare.


A social critique masquerading as a nuts-and-bolts murder mystery, To Each His Own casts mama's boy Sicilian professor Laurana as the Signora Angela Lansbury in this breezy episode of Double Homicide, He Wrote. Lacking any sleuthing credentials except curiosity and naivité, Laurana starts sniffing around town after two acquaintances are murdered on a hunting expedition. Even worse news: a dog also dies, but this hierarchy reflects my own sympathies and not Leonardo Sciascia's. Rather, he's interested in exposing sociocultural complicity in crime, particularly in his native Sicily—where the mafia is enabled by a brazenly see-no-evil ethos and a Schadenfreude ravenous for victims. I'm not usually a murder mystery kind of guy, but To Each His Own really isn't terribly concerned with the 'who' in the whodunnit, preferring instead to train a revelatory flashlight on the crawling vermin that an overturned stone reveals. But don't be dissuaded by the redeeming social critique; the book's also just a plain old fashioned good yarn, told in unadorned prose and brisk economy. I gobbled it up in the spare moments of only a single day.


Sciascia è uno dei miei scrittori preferiti, adoro la sua scrittura lucida, implacabile, specchio di una realtà come quella da lui descritta non meno spietata.

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