The Knight and Death

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The Knight and Death
First edition
Author Leonardo Sciascia
Original title Il cavaliere la morte
Cover artist Albrecht Dürer - Knight, Death and the Devil
Country Italy
Language Italian
Publisher Adelphi Edizioni
Publication date
Published in English
Media type Print
Pages 160 pp (English edition, softcover)
ISBN 1-86207-579-4
Preceded by Open Doors
Followed by The Mystery of Majorana

The Knight and Death (Italian: Il cavaliere la morte) is a crime novel by Leonardo Sciascia, published in 1988.


The protagonist of the novel is a cultured and tenacious detective affected by a deadly disease (which is clearly a cancer, although it is never openly stated).

The detective, whose name we never learn (he is simply called "il Vice", as "the Vice Chief of Police") investigates the murder of lawyer Sandoz. His chief believes that Sandoz has been killed by a mysterious revolutionary group, but the detective is convinced that powerful businessman Aurispa is involved in the crime, and that the phoney revolutionary group has been invented ad hoc as a scapegoat to cover up the real reasons behind the murder.

The novel is permeated by a sense of impending death, as the increasingly ill and tired "Vice" tries to unravel the mystery.

Significance of title[edit]

The title is a reference to the engraving Knight, Death, and the Devil by Albrecht Dürer, often observed by the "Vice" as he thinks about his imminent death.