Auntie Poldi and the Sicilian Lions by Mario Giordano
|Auntie Poldi and the Sicilian Lions by Mario Giordano|
|Reviewer: Sue Magee|
|Summary: Warm, witty and engaging: I read to hear more about Auntie Poldi and Sicily. The crime was an incidental bonus. A decent read.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 320||Date: July 2016|
|Publisher: Bitter Lemon Press|
Poldi had not long been widowed when she decided to move from Bavaria to Sicily with the intention of drinking herself to death. She could, of course, have done this in Germany, but she felt that a sea view was essential. Once there, new friends, family already resident on the island and the corpse of a young man, his face blown off by a shotgun, whom she found on the local beach, intervened to give her life some meaning. For a while she was a suspect, but that (and her wig) were no obstacle to her falling for Commissario Vito Montana who was assigned to investigate the case. Assisting him (or having him assist her) came naturally to Poldi and before long there was an investigative and personal partnership. At least so far as Poldi was concerned.
As I read I kept thinking about The No 1 Ladies Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith. The setting is completely different, the crime more brutal than anything which Mma Ramotswe was likely to encounter, but there's the same warm humour and another heroine whom you can enjoy (perhaps grateful that you don't have to live next door to her in real life). I'll confess to almost forgetting that there was a murder behind the story as I found myself more interested in Poldi (as I always was with Mma Ramotswe) herself and the community around her than I was in the investigation. Normally this would annoy me, but this time I was, although I hesitate to admit it, charmed.
Yes, it's a good story, but I could probably have lived without knowing who murdered Valentino. What I was loving was the insight into Sicily. The food plays a major part in the story and my mouth watered. I can't imagine eating chocolate and pistachio ice cream (not to my taste at all) but as I read I could taste it on my tongue. But it's Sicily itself which takes centre stage. There's a play on the joke that when God created the world he had some of the best bits from all the continents left over, so he moulded it together and put it down in the Mediterranean and called it Sicily. This caused problems - it was too good and it was felt that matters should be evened up a little. So God created the Sicilians.
From reading the back cover you'll get the impression that the Mafia is never mentioned. It is, but only in passing and it was something of a relief to find that there's normal, non-organised crime in Sicily. Hopefully this will continue, because one of the most promising things about this books is that it's the first of a planned series. It's one to watch. I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag.
For more Sicilian crime we can recommend Andrea Camilleri's Inspector Montalbano Books, Blood Rain by Michael Dibdin and Judges by Andrea Camilleri, Carlo Lucarelli and Giancarlo De Cataldo.
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You can read more book reviews or buy Auntie Poldi and the Sicilian Lions by Mario Giordano at Amazon.com.
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