On the fourth of January, 1960, the 46-year-old French writer and Nobel laureate Albert Camus died in a car crash. It was declared an accident, and a blown tire was blamed. But in 2013, the Italian poet Giovanni Catelli published an astonishing hypothesis, now being published in America for the first time. He believed that Camus was murdered by the K.G.B.

“A horrible conclusion,” the novelist Paul Auster writes in a brief foreword, “but after digesting the evidence Catelli has given us, it becomes difficult not to agree with him.” Others, including Camus’s biographer, have remained skeptical. Only one thing is certain after reading this book: with the singular exception of P. D. James’s fictional Inspector Dalgliesh, poets make for lousy detectives.