On the day that Santiago Nasar is eventually killed, he and everyone in the town make their way toward the bishop’s boat for his arrival. The narrator’s sister, Margot, invites Santiago over, but he says he must go home first to change clothes. Margot tells her mother, Luisa Santiaga, that she has learned that people are going to kill Santiago, and on Luisa’s way to warn Santiago, she learns that Santiago is already dead.
The narrator tells the story of Bayardo San Roman, the bridegroom of Angela Vicario, and how they became engaged. On their wedding night, however, Pura Vicario wakes up to find Bayardo and Angela at her home, and Bayardo leaves Angela behind. Pura beats her daughter and it is learned that Santiago took her virginity.
The Vicario twins set out to kill Santiago. They visit Clothilde Armenta who tries to make them drunk enough to forget their plan. Due to the bishop’s arrival, Father Carmen Amador, whom Clothilde Armenta tells of the murder plan, forgets and walks past the shop where the brothers wait to kill Santiago.
Santiago’s body is quickly buried, and the Vicario brothers are sent to prison. Bayardo San Roman is found almost dead with alcohol poisoning and is taken away. For the next seventeen years, Angela writes letters to Bayardo, when one day he arrives at her workplace carrying a suitcase filled with clothes, and another carrying all of Angela’s letters, unopened.
For years, all anyone could talk about was Santiago’s murder and how most people did not intervene. Days after the crime, the magistrate arrives and declares his confusion over whether Santiago actually took Angela’s virginity. The story of the events that transpired on the day of Santiago’s murder are revealed.