Rogelio Iriarte – The Prince of Death

The ambiguous intertwining between good and evil

“I need your help to turn myself in”.
An old man tells this to a journalist called Arsenio Cabrales.
“Being buried anonymously after everything I’ve done would be incredibly unfair to myself […] I’m not vain, you know […] It’s not like that. The things I’ve done… I did them so well nobody knows I even exist. I’m the collector”.
These are the first lines of “El Principe de la Muerte”, The Prince of Death, third chapter of the Bogotà trilogy by Rogelio Iriarte.
Cabrales finds himself sucked into the luxury of the Maddalena Caiman’s mansion whilst his host shares with him his memoires: cruel, merciless stories about torturing people for money and how he built a career out of it.
The Caiman has his own commandment: Thou shalt not hit innocent people.
Every single one of his victims totally deserved it.
Once again Iriarte uses his works to explain how life and death, victims and perpetrators, justice and brutality often look too much alike – to the point where we can’t tell one from the other.
And the last question is always the same: is it really that easy to know what’s right and what’s wrong? What’s good and what’s not?
A terrific novel by the Colombian master of noir.

Translation by Francesca Febbrari (edited by Sabrina Macchi)