cover image Auntie Poldi and the Sicilian Lions

Auntie Poldi and the Sicilian Lions

Mario Giordano, trans. from the German by John Brownjohn. Bitter Lemon, $14.95 trade paper (320p) ISBN 978-1-908524-69-0

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.)