Auntie Poldi and the Sicilian Lions

Auntie Poldi and the Sicilian Lions

by Mario Giordano, John Brownjohn

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A NATIONAL BESTSELLER 

 

“Break out the prosecco! There’s a new detective in town – and she’s 60, sexy, wise and utterly adorable. In the first book of what promises to be a smash series, Poldi moves from Munich to Sicily, intent on cheerfully drinking herself to death with a view of the sea. Instead her handyman goes missing, she finds his corpse, and what choice does she have but to solve the crime? To use her favorite saying: Namaste, Poldi!”—People (Book of the Week) 

 

For fans of A Man Called Ove and the novels of Adriana Trigiani, a charming, delightfully sexy, and bighearted novel starring Auntie Poldi, Sicily’s newest amateur sleuth 

 

An Auntie Poldi Adventure 

 

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. 

 

This “masterly treat” (Times Literary Supplement) will transport you to the rocky shores of Torre Archirafi, to a Sicily full of quirky characters, scorching days, and velvety nights, alongside a protagonist who’s as fiery as the Sicilian sun.

Available Resources

  • Format: Hardcover

  • ISBN-13/EAN: 9781328863577

  • ISBN-10: 1328863573

  • Pages: 352

  • Price: $24.00

  • Publication Date: 03/06/2018

  • Carton Quantity: 12

M
Author

Mario Giordano

MARIO GIORDANO, the son of Italian immigrants, was born in Munich. Auntie Poldi and the Sicilian Lions, his first novel translated into English, was an IndieNext Pick, a B&N Discover Selection, an Amazon Top Ten Best Book of the Month, and a Costco Staff Pick. He lives in Berlin.
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J
Author

John Brownjohn

John Brownjohn lives in Dorset in the UK. His work has won him critical acclaim and numerous awards on both sides of the Atlantic, including the Schlegel-Tieck Prize (three times), the PEN American Center's Goethe House Prize, and the Helen and Kurt Wolff Prize for Marcel Beyer's The Karnau Tapes and Thomas Brussig's Heroes Like Us.
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  • reviews

    A NATIONAL BESTSELLER 

    An Indie Next List Selection 

    A Spring ’18 B&N Discover Pick 

    A Costco Staff Pick 

    An Amazon Best Book of March 2018 

    A New York Post Must Read 

    A B&N Best New Fiction of March 2018 Pick 

    A Washington Post "Beach Read That Will Bring You More Pleasure Than Guilt" 

    A Hello Giggles “Book You Don’t Want to Miss” 

     

    “Break out the prosecco! There’s a new detective in town—and she’s 60, sexy, wise and utterly adorable.” —People, Book of the Week 

     

    Auntie Poldi and the Sicilian Lions has it all for hungry readers: hilarity, intrigue, the magnificent landscape of Sicily and food! Mario Giordano has created a world that spins in technicolor like a Sicilian carretto and, like the traditional donkey carts painted in an explosion of color, this novel is a celebration of the palette of Italian life and the Sicilian experience in its specificity, warmth and drama. Delizioso!”—Adriana Trigiani, bestselling author of Kiss Carlo 

     

    “There’s a new star in the mystery firmament, and her name is Auntie Poldi. Mario Giordano has created a character who will be the envy of every novelist, mystery and otherwise.”—Alan Bradley, author of The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie 

     

    “A new detective is among us. Mario Giordano’s Auntie Poldi joins her peers Andrea Camilleri’s Inspector Montalbano and Alexander McCall Smith’s Mma Precious Ramotswe in winning our hearts. She’s a lusty, bold woman who dives into Sicilian life with gusto. I was unable to stop reading and cheering for this renegade. May further adventures ensue!”Frances Mayes, author of Under the Tuscan Sun 

     

    “To the ranks of amateur sleuths from Miss Marple to Jessica Fletcher, welcome Auntie Poldi — a 60-year-old German widow who has bought a villa on Sicily to drink wine and enjoy the sea view. Then her young handyman, Valentino, is found murdered, and she has a case on her hands.”—Newsday 

     

    "A masterly treat.”—Times Literary Supplement 

     

    "Delightful...Giordano has won me over and I am eagerly awaiting the second in the series."—The Weekly Reader, NPR 

     

    "Auntie Poldi and the Sicilian Lions by Mario Giordano follows a woman from Munich back to her husband’s family village, Torre Archirafi, in Sicily. Auntie Poldi is 60 and wants to retire, but this is no sweet return: Isolde “Poldi” Oberreiter intends to drink herself to death, and sooner rather than later. Despite her malaise, Poldi is tugged back toward life by, yes, a murder. The handsome police detective investigating doesn’t hurt, either. Giordano keeps the tension in check with an anonymous narrator whose affection for his eccentric relation can’t be disguised."—Washington Post, "6 beach reads that will bring you more pleasure than guilt" 

     

    “As types of amateur sleuths go, the category of lusty Bavarian widow has been woefully underrepresented—until now…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 awhile.”—Booklist (starred review) 

     

    “This book is absolutely delightful. Reading it felt like a mini-vacation to Sicily, full of colorful characters and all the twists and turns I crave in a mystery...If you’re looking for a book to read on the beach, this one is perfect!”—BookRiot 

     

    Auntie Poldi and the Sicilian Lions is absolutely enchanting, combining whimsy, mystery, sorrow and Sicilian hot blood, with a lusty, tart heroine who ‘[knows] a thing or two about good places, friendship and things that sustain us.’”—Shelf Awareness 

      

    “A lively, humorous portrait of Sicilian society and gastronomy.”—Times (London) 

      

    “Giordano's wit and his formidable heroine’s wisdom combine to make this debut a smash.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review) 

      

    “Funny, smart and, above all, atmospheric.”—Globe and Mail 

     

    “[A] winning debut . . . Wry, appreciative observations of Sicilian food, people, and history herald a series worth tracking.”—Publishers Weekly 

     

    “The whole book is alive with a tang of lemons to set the senses zinging. Refreshing.”—Spectator 

     

    “Poldi is flamboyant, earthy, and always forthright. . . The mystery is well-plotted and red herrings abound, [but] 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.”—Library Journal 

     

    “The most enchanting novel I’ve read in ages! Auntie Poldi and the Sicilian Lions is a lush, sexy, and slightly madcap romp, much like Auntie Poldi herself. She’s the aunt your mother warned you about—the one who never turns down a drink or a date with a dashing stranger, never mind the consequences. It’s an absolute delight to follow along on her adventures, which involve a missing statue, a handsome policeman, and—oh yes—a murder. Mario Giordano has a gift for eccentric storytelling, snappy dialogue, and sly wit, making this a tart and delectable treat that you’ll press on all your friends. I can’t wait for the next installment!”—Amy Stewart, author of Girl Waits With Gun 

     

    "Murder, She Wrote for the millennial set, Auntie Poldi and the Sicilian Lions is a hilarious story that will keep you on the edge of your beach chair this summer."—Modern Muse 

     

    "A sexy, zany romp."—Spot (Manila)  

     

    "In this light-hearted mystery, a Bavarian widow moves to Sicily and rediscovers her love of living...Big-hearted and funny, smart and escapist: it’s like taking your own Italian vacation. "—Modern Mrs. Darcy, "Summer Reading Guide" 

  • excerpts

    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.” 

      

     

Available Resources

  • Format: Hardcover

  • ISBN-13/EAN: 9781328863577

  • ISBN-10: 1328863573

  • Pages: 352

  • Price: $24.00

  • Publication Date: 03/06/2018

  • Carton Quantity: 12

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