Welcome to our discussion of Chronicle of a Death Foretold. The novel was first published in the Spanish-speaking world in 1981 under the title Cronica de una muerte anunciada. The U.S. edition appeared in 1983. Between those two dates, Marquez won the Nobel Prize for Literature, the most prestigious literary award in the world. Marquez's reputation at that time rested chiefly upon One Hundred Years of Solitude (1967, English translation 1970), a sprawling family saga spanning seven or eight generations, which tells the entire history of a small town and seems to contain stories within stories. Chronicle of a Death Foretold, on the other hand, is a remarkably controlled, taut, tense little book, concentrating on one event that takes place in the course of a few hours.
The story is a murder mystery of sorts, and yet we find out very early who committed the crime, and we even know the motive: Pedro and Pablo Vicario kill Santiago Nasar to avenge the honor of their sister Angela when her husband returns her to her family the night of their wedding because he learns that Angela was not a virgin. What, then, is the mystery of this story? What is it that we really crave to understand as we watch Santiago Nasar's final hours and the brutal killing at the end? How does the author create such suspense when we already know what is going to happen?