Auntie Poldi and the Sicilian Lions

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 06 Apr 2018

Member Reviews

Deep down I really like old-fashioned mysteries. It goes back to my love of the Three Investigators and Trixie Belden as a girl, I suppose! I draw the line these days at restaurateurs who find bodies in the whipping cream, so finding the right balance between a cozy and too-cute isn’t always easy. But here’s a new author to follow. Isolde Oberreider, known to her family as Poldi, is grieving the passing of her husband Peppe. Drowning her sorrows – in good wine, mind you – she impulsively decides to move to Sicily for a sea view, a place where she can drink herself to death in comfort, though she is only just marking her 60th birthday. She buys a rather dilapidated villa that meets her exacting standards for good energy, and sets about restoring it with the help of the young and handsome Valentino. Soon after she moves in, her helper disappears in mid-job. Poldi searches for him and eventually finds his body. While waiting for the police to show up, she vows to find his killer, a promise that leads her all around Sicily, nearly costs her life more than once, and brings about the handsome detective Vito Montana. The plot is perhaps the weakest point in this character-driven story, and oh the characters are captivating. Poldi herself is a delight with her “hunting instinct” and passion for wigs, sex, and booze. I especially enjoy her sparring with her nephew who narrates the story when he is in Sicily; otherwise it’s told in the third person. Despite the author’s Italian name, the book was originally published in German Giordano wrote this originally in German, and the translation is by John Brownjohn, who seems to have done an adequate job. The Sicilian setting renders perfectly, with lemon groves and beaches, smelly mine sites and rundown estates. Perfect for fans of Louise Penny or Jean-Luc Bannalec’s Brittany series.
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Charming new series, Auntie Poldi is a memorable character who is immediately recognizable and sympathetic.  Book has a nice blend of humor and sadness, but never veers into the maudlin..
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I love cozy mysteries with enchanting locations and hilarious protagonists and Auntie Poldi is one of my new favorites. Determined and hilarious, this was a truly enjoyable escape and I can't wait for the next one!
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Auntie Poldi and the Sicilian Lions is the first novel in a mystery series by author Mario Giordano. The titular character, Isolde Oberreider, aka Poldi, has retired from film/tv (where she was a costumer) to Sicily to drink, soak up sun, enjoy seeing attractive men in uniform and live out her twilight years whilst solving the occasional murder.

At 346 pages, it's a more substantial read than many contemporary procedurals or cozies. The length allowed the author to richly develop the setting and characters without suffering from book bloat at all.  The plotting was tight and the pacing was perfect and never dragged for me.

 Released 6th March, 2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, it's available in hardcover, paperback, ebook and audiobook formats.

This is a really charming book with very appealing and sympathetic characters written with humor and heart.  I really cared about the characters.  The narrator, Poldi's nephew, serves as Poldi's sounding board, along with three Italian aunties who serve as a Greek chorus for the narrative.
Originally released in German in 2015, the translation by John Brownjohn is seamless and nuanced and certainly doesn't seem to detract from story at all.
Poldi is smart and funny, quirky and outspoken and I adore her.  I'm really looking forward to future installments (foreshadowed on the last page, and already released in German and coming soon in translation). 

Five stars, really enjoyable read.
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Auntie Poldi and the Sicilian Lions is the first in a series of light mysteries by Mario Giordano featuring the sixty-year-old Isolde Oberreiter (Auntie Poldi) from a Sicilian expatriate family in Germany. A glamorous widow, she’s decided it’s time to die and she’s happy to settle by the sea and drink herself to death.  Of course, fate intervenes when Valentino, a young man who has helped her with some the moving in repairs, disappears. She is certain there was foul play and begins trying to find him.

Which she does, coming upon his body and taking the time to look for clues before calling the police. Her father was a homicide detective and Auntie Poldi has obviously learned a lot from him. The lead detective is Vito Montana, a virile and interested man who Poldi wants to best and seduce. Along the course of the investigation, she does both .

I did not like this book as much as I think I should have. It really is perfectly suited for one of those fabulous Masterpiece Mystery series featuring a glamorous older woman whose past is full of mystery, adventure, and bohemian excess. She may be a bit old and creaky with a trick knee, but she’s bright and clever. Somehow, though, it was a bit off for me. It felt almost as though it was being written for a TV series.

The nephew narrator is unnecessary, other than giving her the appellation Auntie. For her to be an auntie, there must be a nephew or niece, but I found him a distraction and annoying. My Aunt Harriet was not my aunt, it can be an honorific.

Here’s the thing, the pilot episode on a TV series can be a bit annoying, full of introduction and character background that is fed to us rather than learned organically. Subsequent episodes can be brilliant because they got that out of the way. I am hoping the same for this series. There was a lot of painting in the background. If Giordano trusts his readers to remember what we have learned and drops that in the future, I am sure the rest of the series will be far better.

I received a copy of Auntie Poldi and the Sicilian Lions from the publisher through NetGalley.

Auntie Poldi and the Sicilian Lions at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Mario Giordano at WorldCat
Interview with Mario Giordano at Public Libraries Online
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Poldi, a German widow, celebrates turning sixty by buying a villa and moving to Sicily to start a new life, find adventure, and live closer to her sisters-in-law. She becomes friends with a sketchy Frenchwoman, her handyman is killed, she tries to solve his murder, becomes romantically involved with the police commissioner, and gets entangled with the Sicilian mob. Doesn't this all sound like a fast, fabulous, romp of a read? Wellll...I had big problems with this book. First, the book is narrated by Poldi's nephew, who relates the story to us as Poldi told it to him. This gets confusing, especially when recounting dialog. Next, this is Giordano's first novel translated to English, which is obvious when he uses Italian phrases without then giving us any hint or translation as to what was said. Lastly, every chapter begins with a synopsis of what will happen in the chapter, so it's like reading cheat-notes but still having to read the book. WHY?

I couldn't wait to read Aunti Poldi and the Sicilian Lions - I was so excited.. However, it took me three weeks to get through and finally finish this book, all to say....meh.
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Recently translated from the German, this features some of the most delightful characters I’ve read in ages.  Poldi (which is short Isolde) has recently moved to Sicily from Munich.  She is widowed, oft-times depressed, hard-drinking and has recently turned-sixty.  Her husband’s three Sicilian sisters worry about her health but Poldi finds an unexpected diversion.  After discovering the body of a young man who has been helping her restore her house, Poldi decides to solve the murder of Valentino Candela and romantically pursue the handsome Sicilian policeman assigned to the case.  

Poldi is the nervy heroine we all like to see stubbornly tracking down a murderer.  Her persistence in often humorous and engaging.  That being said, she is also prone to dark moods and depression, which are actually rather refreshing and human.
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I am enamored of Auntie Poldi.  She is a truly unique character who has real ups and downs, a character who is fully 3 dimensional.  She plot is well developed a mystery that develops naturally while showing a bit of Sicilian life and explaining how it differs from mainland Italy. 
Auntie Poldi's handyman disappears.  Valentino is young but very dependable.  No one seems too upset by his sudden disappearance, including his parents. Poldi begins searching for him and asking around about Valentino's last appearance in town. 
During the investigation she meets Inspector Montana a hottie if Poldi ever saw one. Perhaps Poldi can get her mojo back after all.
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Auntie Poldi moves to Sicily and as her nephew, the narrator informs us “Sicily is complicated – you can’t simply die there; something always gets in the way…. Someone was murdered” and Auntie Poldi  “had to take matters in hand... and sort them out. And that was when the problems arose.” 

Isolde Oberreiter, a/k/a Auntie Poldi, is an outrageous character transplanted from Germany to her beloved Sicily where she only desires a sea view and family for company. She makes coffee in the nude, greets Namaste to all things including a camera and the clouds, falls in lust with a forlorn detective, promises to solve a murder and falls off the wagon repeatedly. This is a mildly entertaining murder/detective story which appears to be the first in a possible series.

Thank you NetGalley and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for an advance copy.
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Auntie Poldi and the Sicilian Lions is absolutely delightful. Reading this book felt like a mini-vacation to Sicily, full of colorful characters and all the twists and turns I crave in a mystery. Auntie Poldi is a 60 year old widow who has retired to Sicily, where she makes quick work of becoming the town's premier amateur detective. She charms most of the town's residents (and me) immediately, with her colorful storytelling, penchant for wine, and signature black wig. I hope future books in this series are translated into English so I can keep following her story!
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It's great to see a story with a strong female protagonist who is 60.
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Auntie Poldi and the Sicilian Lions is delightful. I found Auntie Poldi to be a very likeable character and I believe this will be an easy title to hand sell.
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Auntie Poldie, a native of Munich, Germany, is convinced that being 60 years old and a widow, she is on death's door. To meet her fate, she moves to Sicily, her husband's place of origin.  But instead of demise, she finds herself embroiled in solving a murder, and along the way, romance.
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A delightfully quirky and atmospheric mystery! I loved that Poldi's nephew narrated the book; their side conversations brought so much entertainment and added something special to the story. However, I do think the characters and the setting shine far more brightly than the mystery itself. Something about it just did not grab my attention; then again, I'm not a true mystery reader. Perhaps it would work for someone who really loves mysteries. That being said, I did enjoy this book and I'll be waiting for the next in the series. 

Thank you to Netgalley for the advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.
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A good and entertaining mystery with a very interesting main character. The setting was charming and the style of writing interesting.
Many thanks to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and Netgalley
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Auntie Poldi lives in Sicily and tells the story to the narrator of how she managed to solve a crime that involved, among other things, lion statues. The narrator is his nephew, that goes to live with her to work on a book. I really enjoyed the adventures that Auntie Poldi went through - it is fun and entertaining. It is not a book that will make you laugh all the time, but it will certainly make you smile - and look forward to the second book on the series. I felt the middle of the book was a bit slow, but then things really started to happen more towards the end, and the story gets more exciting.
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Auntie Poldi retires from her job as a costume designer in Munich and moves to Sicily. You'll never see her without her wig and almost always with a drink in her hand. I wish she wouldn't drink that much.... Otherwise she is a pretty fun and eccentric character. 

This older lady that never beats around the bush and the sun and warmth of Sicily make this mystery a unique experience. She does a good job of investigating and discovers a bunch of criminal activities in the little town. Lots of humour and a little bit of romance make for an entertaining read.

I requested this book from NetGalley and am thankful that Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and the author provided me with a copy.
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If it's murder, it's Poldi getting in people's faces. Sicilian people's faces, which is to say her new neighbors. When Aunt Poldi moved to Sicily, it was with a plan to get old and die of misery in pretty short order. When a friend, a young man, is killed, Polidi finds a new path. Uncovering secrets, dodging Dobermans, a sprinkle of looovee, and a narrator who can hardly belive what his Aunt is up to add up to a great into to a promising new mystery series.
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I struggled a bit in the beginning with the various characters and the occasional Italian word that I had to look up because I didn’t know what it meant. Overall, this was an interesting book. The author definitely takes a good bit of time with Poldi’s character development, and I got a real feel for what she was like. The other characters, Poldi’s sisters-in-law, one of their husbands, a few men Poldi  meets during  her investigation and even people who rarely show up up, but are introduced have some details of their personalities mentioned, so you get a bit of a feel for  all of them.  The author also paints a vivid word picture of Sicily. There were some very amusing moments  and  a few times that I would cringe at Poldi’s excesses; however, Poldi was full of excess and was quite an eccentric character. 

The murder mystery was well done with bits and pieces coming to light, and Poldi's desire to solve the crime before the handsome Vito Montana could added an interesting element to the story.

 I enjoyed the book, and would give it 3.5 stars .
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After reading the many good reviews of this book, I am surprised at how I could not get into this book.  I believe the premise and characters seemed entertaining and witty, except I found the narrative to be unimpressive.  I understand it is a translation and told from a nephews second hand words, but the wit and humor was lost on me.

Thank you Netgalley for this opportunity to read this e-galley.
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