A Sunny Place for Shady People
How Malta Became One of the Most Curious and Corrupt Places in the WorldA personal and critical examination of how a powerful cabal on the Mediterranean island nation of Malta planned an assassination
The car bomb assassination of Maltese investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia in 2017 shocked the European Union and put the world’s spotlight on an island so small that few knew it was an independent country and even fewer could find it on the map. But Caruana Galizia’s death didn’t come ...
Ryan Murdock had visions of living a slow-paced island life on the Mediterranean while writing about his experiences, so in 2011 he moved from Canada to Malta. To the casual visitor, Malta is a sleepy place with sun-soaked shorelines and ancient fortified harbors. Murdock imagined it to be an archipelago island of warm weather, gorgeous views, busy cafes, and grilled fish dinners. On the surface, it was.
The six years Murdock spent in Malta revealed an insular culture whose fundamental baseline is amoral familism, a worldview in which any action taken to benefit one’s family or oneself is justifiable, regardless of whether it is legal or ethical. In such a place murder may or may not be wrong, depending on what one thinks of another’s politics. This pervasive perspective created a culture of corruption that rose all the way to the top of the island nation. The office of the prime minister was implicated in Caruana Galizia’s murder, and the investigation continues to reveal a government mired in money laundering, human trafficking, fuel smuggling, and the sale of EU passports to Russian and Middle Eastern oligarchs.
Interspersed with personal narrative, Murdock delves into Malta’s unique geopolitical, cultural, ethnic, and religious history—one that transformed it from a hub of prehistoric rule into a modern society where a powerful cabal of political and business leaders nearly got away with murder.