The story is set in Peru in the 1950’s. Near an air force base in the northern deserts, a young airman Palomino Molero is found brutally murdered. Two local police men Officer Lituma and Lieutenant Silva, try to unravel the crime Rumours abound all over the place that the smuggling or as some believe espionage is the cause of the murder and the incident involve big guys. The local policemen are finally able to find the murderer and the real reason behind the murder. But due to unusual turn of events no one is ready to believe the facts found out. The two police men are not rewarded for the trouble they took to solve the mystery but are in fact forced to bear the brunt of finding the truth.
Mario Vargas Llosa explores the theme of guilt, innocence, the impossibility of justice in a society grounded in inequality and the eternally elusive nature of the truth.
Reviewed by Ms Asha Devi A.