Cover image for Auntie Poldi and the Sicilian Lions
Title:
Auntie Poldi and the Sicilian Lions
Author:
Giordano, Mario, 1963- author.
Uniform Title:
Tante Poldi und die sizilianischen Löwen. English
Edition:
[Large print ed.]
Publication Information:
Waterville, Maine : Thorndike Press, a part of Gale, a Cengage Company, 2018.

©2015
Physical Description:
449 pages (large print) ; 23 cm.
Summary:
On her sixtieth birthday, Auntie Poldi retires to Sicily, intending to while away the rest of her days with good wine, a view of the sea, and few visitors. But Sicily isn't quite the tranquil island she thought it would be, and something always seems to get in the way of her relaxation. When her handsome young handyman goes missing-- and is discovered murdered-- she can't help but ask questions. Soon there's an investigation, a smoldering police inspector, a romantic entanglement, one false lead after another, a rooftop showdown, and finally, of course, Poldi herself, slightly tousled but still perfectly poised.
General Note:
Translated from the German.
Language:
English
Added Author:
ISBN:
9781432850685
Format :
Book

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Summary

Summary

An Indie Next PickOn her sixtieth birthday, Auntie Poldi retires to Sicily intending to while away her days with good wine, a view of the sea, and few visitors. But Sicily isn't quite the tranquil island she thought it would be. When her handsome young handyman is murdered, she can't help but ask questions. Soon there's a smoldering police inspector, a romantic entanglement, false leads, a rooftop showdown, and finally Poldi herself, slightly tousled but still perfectly poised.


Reviews 3

Booklist Review

*Starred Review* As types of amateur sleuths go, the category of lusty Bavarian widow has been woefully underrepresented until now. Meet Isolde Poldi Oberreiter, who has recently moved from Germany to her late husband's hometown in Sicily, planning to drink herself to death and join him in the afterlife. But things keep getting in the way: a murder, a handsome police officer, and a visit from Poldi's author nephew. A woman of a certain age, Poldi is a larger-than-life personality with the extravagant hair and décolletage to match. Her story is told from the perspective of her incredulous nephew, a man fascinated by his aunt's exploits but eager for her to wear a better-fitting robe. The action is set in the present, but author Giordano adds to the comic effect by employing lengthy Victorian chapter titles that preview the action, e.g., When she's sober again she makes an unpleasant discovery and dials the wrong number. Fans of international mysteries or just those who fantasize about good wine and languorous meals on the Italian coast will devour this mystery debut. The son of Italian immigrants, Giordano has previously written general fiction, YA fiction, and screenplays. Let's hope he sticks with Poldi for quite a while.--Keefe, Karen Copyright 2018 Booklist


Publisher's Weekly Review

Giordano's winning debut and series launch unleashes 60-year-old Isolde "Poldi" Oberreiter, the daughter of a Munich police detective, on the unsuspecting populace of the Sicilian village Torre Archirafi, where the fiercest conflicts center on where to buy the best fish, or whether coffee should be drunk solely as a sugar delivery system. Poldi, who was once married to the anonymous narrator's late uncle, arrives as a depressed retiree intending to drink herself to death. But she changes her mind after she decides to investigate the shotgun murder of 19-year-old Valentino Candela, whose body she finds on a beach. Poldi, who has a weakness for good-looking policemen, enlists the aid of a reluctant police detective, Vito Montana, who knows all too well that powerful local figures are best left undisturbed, regardless of the crime. Despite some clunky moments, such as the recurring appearance of the figure of Death, Poldi's pursuit of Valentino's killers is done with breezy good humor. Wry, appreciative observations of Sicilian food, people, and history herald a series worth tracking. (Sept.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Library Journal Review

There is a new amateur sleuth in town. Auntie Poldi, a 60-year-old Bavarian widow, decides to retire to Sicily and spend the rest of her days enjoying a good sea view and an abundance of Prosecco. Instead, she gets involved with investigating the death of Valentino, her handyman, and with an attractive police inspector. The characters are eccentric, bordering on over the top; the scenery is lovely; and the descriptions of food are fantastic. Poldi's nephew, an aspiring writer, lives in her attic bedroom and narrates the tale. There are some awkward pacing points in the book, which could be owing to difficulties in the translation; overall, it is a breezy mystery. Matt Addis does a fine job with the various accents. VERDICT Recommended for those who enjoy a light mystery with quirky characters. Fans of Agatha Raisin and Mrs. Pollifax should find Auntie Poldi equally appealing. ["While the mystery is well plotted and red herrings abound, the true draw of the book is the Sicilian setting and the eccentric Auntie Poldi. Fans of quirky stories such as Alan Bradley's "Flavia de Luce" series may enjoy this amusing romp": LJ 2/1/18 review of the Houghton Harcourt hc.]-Cynthia Jensen, Gladys Harrington Lib., Plano, TX © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Excerpts

Excerpts

1 Describes how and why Poldi moves to Sicily and what her sisters-in-law think of it. Unable to function without her wig and a bottle of brandy, Poldi invites everyone to a roast pork lunch, makes her nephew an offer he can't refuse, and gets to know her neighbours in the Via Baronessa. One of them goes missing shortly afterwards. On her sixtieth birthday my Auntie Poldi moved to Sicily, intending to drink herself comfortably to death with a sea view. That, at least, was what we were all afraid of, but something always got in the way. Sicily is complicated ​-- ​you can't simply die there; something always gets in the way. Then events speeded up, and someone was murdered, and nobody admitted to having seen or known a thing. It goes without saying that my Auntie Poldi, being the pig-headed Bavarian she was, had to take matters in hand herself and sort them out. And that was when problems arose. My Auntie Poldi: a glamorous figure, always ready to make a dramatic entrance. She had put on a bit of weight in recent years, admittedly, and booze and depression had ploughed a few furrows in her outward appearance, but she was still an attractive woman and mentally tip-top ​-- ​most of the time, at least. Stylish, anyway. When Madonna's Music came out, Poldi was the first woman in Westermühlstrasse to wear a white Stetson. One of my earliest childhood memories is of her and Uncle Peppe sitting on my parents' patio in Neufahrn, Poldi in a bright orange trouser suit, beer in one hand, cigarette in the other, and everyone joining in the laughter she seemed to generate with her entire body, which erupted from her in inexhaustible gusts of mirth ​-- ​interspersed with the smutty jokes and expletives that made me the star attraction of the school playground when I passed them on the next day. Isolde and Giuseppe had met at a Munich television studio, where Poldi worked as a costume designer and Peppe was a tailor, an occupation which, for want of any other talent or aspiration, he had inherited from his tyrannical and hypochondriacal father, in other words my grandfather, who had likewise lacked any talents or aspirations ​-- ​quite unlike his father, my great-grandfather Barnaba, that is, who, without being able to speak a word of German, had emigrated in the 1920s to Munich, where he set up a lucrative wholesale fruit business and became a wealthy man. But I digress. Poldi and my Uncle Peppe had shared a grand passion, but alas, a few things went badly wrong. Two miscarriages, booze, my uncle's womanizing, divorce from my uncle, my uncle's illness, my uncle's death, the whole issue of the plot of land in Tanzania and sundry other unpleasant twists and turns, setbacks and upheavals of life had stricken my aunt with depression. But she continued to laugh, love and drink a lot, and she didn't simply take things lying down when they went against the grain. Which they always did. Poldi had enjoyed being a costume designer, but in recent years she had more and more often lost jobs to younger colleagues. Television work had become scarcer, times harder, and Poldi had gradually fallen out of love with her profession. Stupidly enough, the disastrous venture in Tanzania had robbed her of almost all her savings. But then her parents died in quick succession and left her their little house on the outskirts of Augsburg. And because my Auntie Poldi had always hated the house and everything to do with it, nothing could have been more logical than to sell it and take herself off, together with the rest of her savings and her small pension, and fulfil one of her dearest wishes: to die with a sea view. And family for company. The family in Sicily naturally suspected that Poldi meant to hasten her demise with a glass or two, given her depressive tendencies, and felt that this must be combated on every level and by all available means. When I say "family" I'm referring principally to my three aunts, Teresa, Caterina and Luisa, and my Uncle Martino, Teresa's husband. Aunt Teresa, who calls the shots in our family, tried to persuade Poldi to move in with them at Catania, if only for social reasons. "Don't be daft, Poldi," Teresa lamented in her best Munich dialect, "why would you want to live out there, all on your lonesome? Move in near us, then you'd always have someone to chew the fat and play cards with and you can do everything on foot. Theatre, cinemas, supermarket and hospital ​-- ​everything's practically on the doorstep. We've even got a few good-looking policemen, too." Not a chance, though. Poldi's private agreement with her melancholia stipulated a sea view, and a sea view was what she got, together with a breathtaking panorama from her roof terrace. The sea straight ahead and Etna behind ​-- ​what more would anyone want? The only snag: with her bad knee, Poldi could hardly make it up the stairs to the roof. A sleepy, friendly little town on the east coast of Sicily midway between Catania and Taormina, Torre Archirafi is unsuited to any form of tourist exploitation, gentrification or vandalism because of its coastline, which consists of massive, jagged volcanic cliffs. Or so one would think, anyway. This doesn't, in fact, deter the inhabitants from dumping their rubbish on the beach, making life as difficult for each other as possible, and, in the summer, shoehorning timber platforms and snack bars into the gaps between the cliffs. On weekends families and young people from Catania throng there to sunbathe, eat, read paperbacks, squabble, eat, listen to the radio, eat and flirt, forever bombarded by the thump of indeterminate bass rhythms and dazed by a miasma of coconut oil, frying fat and fatalism. And, in the midst of it all, my Auntie Poldi. She liked the place, I've never known why. Winters in Torre, on the other hand, are dank. A sea the colour of lead snarls at the projecting breakwaters as if intent on swallowing the whole town, and its moist, salty breath adorns every ceiling with black efflorescences of mildew. Air conditioning and feeble central heating systems don't stand a chance. My Auntie Poldi had to have the whole house whitewashed the very first April after she moved into the Via Baronessa, and again every year thereafter. Winters in Torre aren't much fun, but at least they're short. For shopping one drives to nearby Riposto, or, better still, straight to the HiperSimply supermarket, where everything's on tap. All Torre itself has to offer is Signor Bussacca's little tabacchi for basic necessities, the Bar-Gelateria Cocuzza presided over by the sad signora, and a restaurant even the local cats steer clear of. Torre Archirafi does, however, boast a mineral-water spring, and although the bottling plant down by the harbour was closed in the seventies, Acqua di Torre still means something to my aunts. Protruding from the side of the old building is a row of brass taps from which the inhabitants of Torre can still draw their own mineral water free of charge. "What does it taste like?" I asked politely, the first time Poldi enthused about the public mineral water supply as though speaking of a chocolate fountain. "Frightful, of course; what do you expect? Still, local patriotism makes folk thirsty."     Excerpted from Auntie Poldi and the Sicilian Lions by Mario Giordano All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.