'Chronicle of a Death Foretold' Summary of the book
Marquez's novel is very repetitive and nonlinear, so we're going to lay it down for you in a straightforward and chronological order. It's not what Marquez intended, but it sure is easier to understand.
Six months before 'the incident,' Bayardo San Román comes barging into town looking like he's the best thing since sliced bread. No one knows who he is, and the only thing they do know is that he's looking for a wife. Apparently no one in town thinks this is sketchy, so we'll roll with it too.
One day he randomly chooses Angela as his bride-to-be, despite the fact that she has no interest in him at all. His unrequited love is totally in line with his sketchy character, but everyone seems to ignore the sketch-factor because the dude's richer than Bill Gates. Anyway, Angela's lack of love for Bayardo is not the only problem. She has a secret: She's not a virgin.
Angela's impoverished family doesn't care about this fact and they basically force her into marrying Bayardo. After four months, they have the biggest wedding the town has ever seen. Everyone who's anyone (and some people who aren't even anyone) comes to the party. But it all comes crashing down on their wedding night when it's revealed that Angela is not a virgin.
Bayardo takes her back home, where Angela's mom beats her for about two hours. She tells her brothers that Santiago is the guy who deflowered her, and that's when the murder plot begins.
The next day, the town is still in a festive mood because the Bishop is supposed to visit. They even have crazy amounts of roosters prepared for his favorite cock-comb soup. So even though it's Monday, everything is not operating the way it would normally, which is unfortunate for poor Santiago.
In the hours that follow, everything that could go wrong does go wrong. It's like the darkest black comedy you've ever seen. By 6 AM everyone in town knows that the brothers are going to kill Santiago, but no one does anything. Even though the brothers don't want to kill him, no one stops them. What the heck is up with this town?
In the end, Santiago is killed at his own doorstep.
After the murder, the whole town can't stop talking about it. Angela's family leaves town and so does her husband of five hours. There's even a trial, but it doesn't seem that anything comes of it aside from some pretty cool records written in red ink.
Years later, our narrator goes around talking to the residents of the town. He tries to get some kind of truth, but we don't get anything concrete except for one sad truth: Santiago is dead.
Hey, we never said you should expect a happy ending. (shmoop.com)