cover image Auntie Poldi and the Lost Madonna: An Auntie Poldi Mystery

Auntie Poldi and the Lost Madonna: An Auntie Poldi Mystery

Mario Giordano, trans. from the German by John Brownjohn. Mariner, $15.99 trade paper (352p) ISBN 978-0-3584-4627-9

In Giordano’s exceptional fourth Auntie Poldi mystery (after 2020’s Auntie Poldi and the Handsome Antonio), 60-year-old Isolde “Poldi” Oberreiter, a Bavarian who has settled in Torre Archirafi, Sicily, sets aside her plan “to drink herself to death in comfort with a view of the sea” to investigate another crime—the death of a nun who fell from the roof of the Vatican’s Apostolic Palace following the exorcism of a woman named Rosaria. When the priest asked Rosaria to renounce her demon, she spoke Bavarian German in Poldi’s voice. While the plot, which involves the theft of a statue of a Black Madonna, is satisfyingly packed with danger and surprises, it’s the digressions on Sicilian history, the Italian mentality, and Poldi’s pronouncements on life and sex that provide readers with some laugh-out-loud moments as well as food for thought. Those who appreciate the intelligent silliness of S.J. Perelman will want to see more of the sexy, quick-witted Poldi, who won’t take guff from any man, including the pope. (May)