The Marquis de Sade, from whom we get the term "sadism", uses his pen to jab at people from his real life in these short, witty tales. The magistrate of the titular work, for example, is almost certainly based on the magistrate who passed a death sentence on Sade, executing an effigy in his place.
The Marquis’ usual themes of hypocrisy, deviancy, absurdity, and humor are present and Ken Kilban is able, in his performance, to treat the stories' humor with seriousness and their seriousness with humor.
The great virtue of this volume is that it reveals a lighter, comic side of Sade. He was a man obsessed, like many great writers, and his obsessions are still present here: his hatred of all things pretentious, his loathing of a corrupt judicial system, his damning of hypocrisy and false piety. One of the great anarchists of all time, he was nevertheless far from mad (as many pretended) and these works of fiction shed another light on this most feverish of minds. But however heavy the subject, The Mystified Magistrate is infused with a light touch; it is revealing but never offensive.