Alexander H. Harcourt, author of Humankind
Auntie Poldi. She’s a man-loving - especially Inspector Vito Montana-loving - German Miss Marples. She’s a terrier on the trail of murder in sensuous, warm Sicily. She’s as tasty as Sicily itself. She begins her days with a ‘revivifying Prosecco’, and often continues them with other stronger refreshments. Except when she’s on the case - except for another prosecco or two, because prosecco really isn’t a ‘drink’. I cannot think of another such amusing protagonist in the field of whodunits.
The writing matches Auntie Poldi - generous, warm, bold, amusing. Sicilian Lions is apparently the first in a series. I’ll be frequently checking the Bitter Lemon website for more Poldi, crime, amusement, and Sicilian recipes.
An ex-pat from Munich finds love and murder in Sicily.When Isolde Oberreiter decides at age 60 to move from Munich to Sicily "to drink herself comfortably to death with a sea view," her decision makes a crazy kind of sense. Winters in Munich are not for the faint of heart. Her ex-husband, Peppe, now deceased, was from Catania, and his three sisters, Luisa, Teresa, and Caterina, welcome her to join them there. But Isolde, known to her family as Poldi, always flies to her own compass. Instead of Catania, she buys a villa in tiny Torre Archirafi, down the street from the Bar-Gelateria Cocuzza . Because even intrepid Poldi can't manage a villa on her own, she recruits Valentino Candela, a local jack-of-all-trades, to help with the restoration. Valentino is a great worker until he disappears. Suspecting foul play, Poldi invades Femminamorta, a local estate Valentino mentioned just before vanishing. Valérie Raisi di Belfiore, the estate's young owner, takes to Poldi, inviting her to dinner with her elderly cousin, Domenico Pastorella di Belfiore, owner of a still larger estate. Charmed as she is by Sicilian high society, Poldi isn't getting any closer to finding Valentino. And she isn't finding people with whom she really clicks—that is, until she crosses paths with police detective Vito Montana. Poldi is an irresistible newcomer with a mature voice and a vision of who she is and who she never will be, not afraid to take chances, and willing to fail. She's grateful to the universe for what it offers and accepting when it doesn't provide more. A drama queen who isn't fooled by her own production, she knows the value of living deeply. Giordano's wit and his formidable heroine's wisdom combine to make this debut a smash.
London Times-BOOK OF THE MONTH
Auntie Poldi has turned 60, her husband has died, and she decides to drink herself happily to death, somewhere with a sea view. She leaves her native Bavaria to settle in Sicily. However, she’s too sexy, witty, curious, opinionated, eccentric and stylishly dressed for her plan to work. In Auntie Poldi and the Sicilian Lions, her first adventure, she discovers the murdered corpse of a young man on the beach. For a while, she’s the chief suspect. Determined to solve the mystery herself, she interferes with police inquiries and lusts after the commissario in charge. 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.
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.)