Auntie Poldi and the Sicilian Lions (An Auntie Poldi Adventure #1)
March 2018 Indie Next List
— Lisa Howorth, Square Books, Oxford, MS
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Summer 2019 Reading Group Indie Next List
— Amy Stewart, Eureka Books, Eureka, CA
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“Break out the prosecco! There’s a new detective in town – and she’s 60, sexy, wise and utterly adorable. In the first book of what promises to be a smash series, Poldi moves from Munich to Sicily, intent on cheerfully drinking herself to death with a view of the sea. Instead her handyman goes missing, she finds his corpse, and what choice does she have but to solve the crime? To use her favorite saying: Namaste, Poldi!”—People (Book of the Week)
For fans of A Man Called Ove and the novels of Adriana Trigiani, a charming, delightfully sexy, and bighearted novel starring Auntie Poldi, Sicily’s newest amateur sleuth
An Auntie Poldi Adventure
On her sixtieth birthday, Auntie Poldi retires to Sicily, intending to while away the rest of her days with good wine, a view of the sea, and few visitors. But Sicily isn’t quite the tranquil island she thought it would be, and something always seems to get in the way of her relaxation. When her handsome young handyman goes missing—and is discovered murdered—she can’t help but ask questions.
Soon there’s an investigation, a smoldering police inspector, a romantic entanglement, one false lead after another, a rooftop showdown, and finally, of course, Poldi herself, slightly tousled but still perfectly poised.
This “masterly treat” (Times Literary Supplement) will transport you to the rocky shores of Torre Archirafi, to a Sicily full of quirky characters, scorching days, and velvety nights, alongside a protagonist who’s as fiery as the Sicilian sun.
Praise For Auntie Poldi and the Sicilian Lions (An Auntie Poldi Adventure #1)…
An Indie Next List Selection
A Spring ’18 B&N Discover Pick
A Costco Staff Pick
An Amazon Best Book of March 2018
A New York Post Must Read
A B&N Best New Fiction of March 2018 Pick
A Washington Post "Beach Read That Will Bring You More Pleasure Than Guilt"
A Hello Giggles “Book You Don’t Want to Miss”
“Break out the prosecco! There’s a new detective in town—and she’s 60, sexy, wise and utterly adorable.” —People, Book of the Week
“Auntie Poldi and the Sicilian Lions has it all for hungry readers: hilarity, intrigue, the magnificent landscape of Sicily and food! Mario Giordano has created a world that spins in technicolor like a Sicilian carretto and, like the traditional donkey carts painted in an explosion of color, this novel is a celebration of the palette of Italian life and the Sicilian experience in its specificity, warmth and drama. Delizioso!”—Adriana Trigiani, bestselling author of Kiss Carlo
“There’s a new star in the mystery firmament, and her name is Auntie Poldi. Mario Giordano has created a character who will be the envy of every novelist, mystery and otherwise.”—Alan Bradley, author of The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie
“A new detective is among us. Mario Giordano’s Auntie Poldi joins her peers Andrea Camilleri’s Inspector Montalbano and Alexander McCall Smith’s Mma Precious Ramotswe in winning our hearts. She’s a lusty, bold woman who dives into Sicilian life with gusto. I was unable to stop reading and cheering for this renegade. May further adventures ensue!”—Frances Mayes, author of Under the Tuscan Sun
“To the ranks of amateur sleuths from Miss Marple to Jessica Fletcher, welcome Auntie Poldi — a 60-year-old German widow who has bought a villa on Sicily to drink wine and enjoy the sea view. Then her young handyman, Valentino, is found murdered, and she has a case on her hands.”—Newsday
"A masterly treat.”—Times Literary Supplement
"Delightful...Giordano has won me over and I am eagerly awaiting the second in the series."—The Weekly Reader, NPR
"Auntie Poldi and the Sicilian Lions by Mario Giordano follows a woman from Munich back to her husband’s family village, Torre Archirafi, in Sicily. Auntie Poldi is 60 and wants to retire, but this is no sweet return: Isolde “Poldi” Oberreiter intends to drink herself to death, and sooner rather than later. Despite her malaise, Poldi is tugged back toward life by, yes, a murder. The handsome police detective investigating doesn’t hurt, either. Giordano keeps the tension in check with an anonymous narrator whose affection for his eccentric relation can’t be disguised."—Washington Post, "6 beach reads that will bring you more pleasure than guilt"
“As types of amateur sleuths go, the category of lusty Bavarian widow has been woefully underrepresented—until now…Fans of international mysteries or just those who fantasize about good wine and languorous meals on the Italian coast will devour this mystery debut. The son of Italian immigrants, Giordano has previously written general fiction, YA fiction, and screenplays. Let’s hope he sticks with Poldi for quite awhile.”—Booklist (starred review)
“This book is absolutely delightful. Reading it felt like a mini-vacation to Sicily, full of colorful characters and all the twists and turns I crave in a mystery...If you’re looking for a book to read on the beach, this one is perfect!”—BookRiot
“Auntie Poldi and the Sicilian Lions is absolutely enchanting, combining whimsy, mystery, sorrow and Sicilian hot blood, with a lusty, tart heroine who ‘[knows] a thing or two about good places, friendship and things that sustain us.’”—Shelf Awareness
“A lively, humorous portrait of Sicilian society and gastronomy.”—Times (London)
“Giordano's wit and his formidable heroine’s wisdom combine to make this debut a smash.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“Funny, smart and, above all, atmospheric.”—Globe and Mail
“[A] winning debut . . . Wry, appreciative observations of Sicilian food, people, and history herald a series worth tracking.”—Publishers Weekly
“The whole book is alive with a tang of lemons to set the senses zinging. Refreshing.”—Spectator
“Poldi is flamboyant, earthy, and always forthright. . . The mystery is well-plotted and red herrings abound, [but] the true draw of the book is the Sicilian setting and the eccentric Auntie Poldi. Fans of quirky stories such as Alan Bradley's Flavia de Luce series may enjoy this amusing romp.”—Library Journal
“The most enchanting novel I’ve read in ages! Auntie Poldi and the Sicilian Lions is a lush, sexy, and slightly madcap romp, much like Auntie Poldi herself. She’s the aunt your mother warned you about—the one who never turns down a drink or a date with a dashing stranger, never mind the consequences. It’s an absolute delight to follow along on her adventures, which involve a missing statue, a handsome policeman, and—oh yes—a murder. Mario Giordano has a gift for eccentric storytelling, snappy dialogue, and sly wit, making this a tart and delectable treat that you’ll press on all your friends. I can’t wait for the next installment!”—Amy Stewart, author of Girl Waits With Gun
"Murder, She Wrote for the millennial set, Auntie Poldi and the Sicilian Lions is a hilarious story that will keep you on the edge of your beach chair this summer."—Modern Muse
"A sexy, zany romp."—Spot (Manila)
"In this light-hearted mystery, a Bavarian widow moves to Sicily and rediscovers her love of living...Big-hearted and funny, smart and escapist: it’s like taking your own Italian vacation. "—Modern Mrs. Darcy, "Summer Reading Guide"
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 9781328863577, 352pp.
Publication Date: March 6, 2018
About the Author
John Brownjohn lives in Dorset in the UK. His work has won him critical acclaim and numerous awards on both sides of the Atlantic, including the Schlegel-Tieck Prize (three times), the PEN American Center's Goethe House Prize, and the Helen and Kurt Wolff Prize for Marcel Beyer's The Karnau Tapes and Thomas Brussig's Heroes Like Us.
Conversation Starters from ReadingGroupChoices.com
1. Why do Valérie and Poldi hit it off immediately? What do they see in each other that leads to their strong friendship?
2. Poldi is sexy and sassy, with a vibrant romantic life— characteristics we often see in younger protagonists, but not often in older ones. In what other ways does Poldi break with convention? Why do you think vibrant, sexy women of a certain age aren’t featured more frequently in movies and books?
3. The author evokes a very strong sense of place. What were you drawn to most: the descriptions of the food or of the landscape?
4. Poldi is immediately accepted by her neighbors, in spite of her quirks. But while she is an insider in many ways, she is also still an outsider as an expatriate. How does she reconcile this contradiction? Have you ever felt like an insider and an outsider at the same time? How did you reconcile that?
5. Why do you think Poldi chose to photograph policemen? What does it say about her thoughts surrounding authority?
6. Do you have a friend or relative who reminds you of Poldi? What is your relationship with him or her and how does your dynamic relate to the dynamic between Poldi and her nephew?
7. If you could choose any place to retire, as Poldi chose Sicily, where would you go and why?
8. Why does Poldi feel so honor bound to Valentino? Could her motivation to solve his murder also be driven by self-interest?
9. Poldi has a close but complicated relationship with each one of her sisters. At times, they can be a burden to her, but often they become her partners in crime. What are your relationships like with your siblings and how do you navigate and maintain those relationships as you grow older?