Summary and book reviews of Auntie Poldi and the Sicilian Lions by Mario Giordano

Auntie Poldi and the Sicilian Lions

by Mario Giordano

Auntie Poldi and the Sicilian Lions by Mario Giordano
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    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Mar 6, 2018, 352 pages
    Paperback:
    Sep 2016, 320 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Gary Presley

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About this Book

Book Summary

The first novel in a charming new mystery series set in Sicily and laced with Italian sensuality and humor. It features an amateur sleuth, the sassy and foul-mouthed Auntie Poldi.

Recently widowed Poldi moves to Sicily in order to quietly drink herself to death with a sea view, but fate intervenes. When she finds the corpse of a young man on the beach, his face blown off with a sawn-off shotgun, she becomes a potential suspect in his murder case. Poldi soon falls for the gorgeous Commissario Montana who has been assigned to lead the case. They form an investigative - and romantic - partnership. The delightful details of this romance, and the extreme awkwardness of Poldi's retelling it to her mortified nephew, are some of the novel's many high points.

Sicily, a vivid backdrop, is an island of people obsessed with food. They talk passionately about which remote village produces the best olives, pistachio ice cream, oyster mushrooms, mandarins, and marzipan, and about which restaurant serves the best pasta al nero di sepia or canolli a la crema di ricotta. And there is never a direct reference to the mafia ("an invention of those fascists in the North"), even when confronted with murders committed with sawn-off shotguns.

Paperback publication of Sept 2016 is for the UK only

Chapter One

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 soon afterwards.

On her sixtieth birthday my Aunt 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 intervened. Sicily is complicated—you can't even die there just like that, 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 Aunt Poldi, being the cussed Bavarian she was, had to take matters in hand herself and sort them out. And that was when problems arose.

My Aunt Poldi: a glamorous figure, and always ready to make a dramatic ...

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Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

Giordano has a talent for turning a few words into a portrait-in-depth, an example being his description of a slender young dilettante as looking like every French film director’s dream – "unbearably lonely, ultra-sexy, Sartre-reading Gallic beauty." He’s no slouch either as he deepens the narrative with descriptions of food, sidewalk cafes, and Sicily’s intense blue sky, but nothing’s done better than bringing the wry, and world-wise Sicilian people to the page. Word is that Auntie Poldi is the first of a series, but more courses to come or not, this initial effort is a veritable caponata siciliana – a tasty stew of food and culture, romance and mystery.   (Reviewed by Gary Presley).

Full Review Members Only (593 words).

Media Reviews

Publishers Weekly

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.

Kirkus Reviews

Starred Review. Giordano's wit and his formidable heroine's wisdom combine to make this debut a smash.

The Times (UK)

Mario Giordano — a Bavarian of Sicilian parentage who writes in German — has created a delightful detective and a lively, humorous portrait of Sicilian society and gastronomy.

Reader Reviews

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Beyond the Book

Trinacria

TrinacriaAuntie Poldi, in Mario Giordano's Auntie Poldi and the Sicilian Lions, is intrigued when she encounters an unusual tattoo on the murder victim. It's Sicily's trinacria, an heraldic-style image whose origins linger in the shadows of Greek mythology.

Heraldry (the art of devising and displaying armorial insignia) may have begun on the battlefield as a means of identifying a rally point for warriors, or the warriors' allegiance. It's an easy assumption that heraldry could pre-date the written word and historical records. One royal house may have chosen lions rampant, for example, and another the fleur-de-lis, which are both emblems of nobility, bravery, and strength. There are dozens of these ancient emblems that first may have been ...

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