Auntie Poldi and the Fruits of the Lord by Mario Giordano
|Auntie Poldi and the Fruits of the Lord by Mario Giordano|
|Reviewer: Karen Grace|
|Summary: Complete madness but underneath the chaos there's actually a good crime story. It's a good fun read with plenty to keep you guessing and laugh out loud but only if you can succumb to the madness.|
|Buy? No||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 336||Date: January 2018|
|Publisher: John Murray|
How to describe this book - well for starters it's unlike anything I've ever read before. It's chaotic, mad, funny, fast-paced, confusing but once you get into it it's really good fun and totally enjoyable.
The confusing part is that the story is recounted by the main character's nephew who is staying with his Auntie Poldi and listening eagerly to the day's adventures over a glass of wine or two every evening. So because it's actually his story and he's a part-time author there's also exerts of the novel he's writing, not to mention the back story of his childhood and family. Then, add to that the fact that the family are German but living in Scilly, cue various accounts of Bavarian and Italian history, life and culture as well as literal language translations, and you're probably starting to see the problem.
As is the case with most crime stories there's also a plethora of characters to try and keep up with, all with little bit parts whose relevance only becomes clear later on. Consequently I found the first couple of chapters quite difficult and that, like amateur detective Auntie Poldi, I really needed my wits about me to make any sense of it. But, once you succumb to the madness of this book and not worry too much about trying to keep everyone and everything in order then it becomes a much easier read and by the end you realise you were pretty much in the loop all along anyway.
This book was hilarious, I mean the main character is a wig wearing, larger than life character. To add to the humour there's also fortune tellers, the mafia, German tourists called Doris, pick-locking padres (priest to you and me), a sad signora, naked Japanese spiritualists, volcanoes and so much more. To give you a flavour my favourite line was A few moments later, like two Special Forces teams, four aunts, an uncle and a dog erupted from the front door of No. 29 Baronessa, piled into Poldi's old but overpowered Alfa and Uncle Martino's battered, asthmatic Fiat, and sped off towards Etna.
It has got to be said though that underneath all the madness there's actually a good crime story with believable motives of murder, greed, corruption and politics. It starts with a poisoned dog and cut off water supply, ie what to others might seem like a series of misfortunes but to Poldi is clearly the mafia. No one is above suspicion, she even places herself on the suspect list, and trouble follows as she leaps into action without thinking, leaving the real police cursing in her wake.
There's lots of twists and turns keeping you in suspense until the end but with enough clues throughout to keep you guessing - my money was on completely the wrong person. This is the second of Auntie Poldi's adventures but it won't make any difference to your enjoyment (or confusion) if you haven't read the first.
As I've already said this is unlike anything I've read before but overall I enjoyed it. My advice would be to stick with it if you're not sure at first and Auntie Poldi may well win you over like she did me. Other books you might like are Agatha Raisin and the Witches' Tree by M C Beaton for its similar feisty alcoholic female detective and fast pace or perhaps Blade of Light by Andrea Camilleri another Italian crime writer.
You can read more book reviews or buy Auntie Poldi and the Fruits of the Lord by Mario Giordano at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy Auntie Poldi and the Fruits of the Lord by Mario Giordano at Amazon.com.
Like to comment on this review?
Just send us an email and we'll put the best up on the site.