Auntie Poldi (Giordono)

Auntie Poldi and the Sicilan Lions (Auntie Poldi Adventures, 1)
Mario Giordono, 2018
Houghton Mifflin
352 pp.
ISBN-13:
9781328863577


Summary
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. (From the publisher.)



Author Bio
Mario Giordano, the son of Italian immigrants, was born in Munich. He is the author of 1,000 Feelings for Which There Are No Names; he has also written thrillers, books for children, and screenplays. Auntie Poldi and the Sicilian Lions is his first novel translated into English. He lives in Berlin. (From the publisher.)



Book Reviews
A lively, humorous portrait of Sicilian society and gastronomy.
Times (UK)


Funny, smart and, above all, atmospheric.
Toronto Globe and Mail


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.
Long Island Newsday


[W]inning.… 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.
Publishers Weekly


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


(Starred review) 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.
Booklist


(Starred reivew) Poldi is an irresistible newcomer with a mature voice and a vision of who she is and who she never will be, not afraid to take chances, and willing to fail.… Giordano’s wit and his formidable heroine's wisdom combine to make this debut a smash.
Kirkus Reviews


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



Discussion Questions
We'll add publisher questions if and when they're available; in the meantime, use our LitLovers Mystery Questions to help start a discussion for AUNTIE POLDI AND THE SICILIAN LIONS … then take off on your own.


GENERIC DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
Mystery / Crime / Suspense Thrillers

1. Talk about the characters, both good and bad. Describe their personalities and motivations. Are they fully developed and emotionally complex? Or are they flat, one-dimensional heroes and villains?

2. What do you know...and when do you know it? At what point in the book do you begin to piece together what happened?

3. Good crime writers embed hidden clues in plain sight, slipping them in casually, almost in passing. Did you pick them out, or were you...clueless? Once you've finished the book, go back to locate the clues hidden in plain sight. How skillful was the author in burying them?

4. Good crime writers also tease us with red-herrings—false clues—to purposely lead readers astray? Does your author try to throw you off track? If so, were you tripped up?

5. Talk about the twists & turns—those surprising plot developments that throw everything you think you've figured out into disarray.

  1. Do they enhance the story, add complexity, and build suspense?
  2. Are they plausible or implausible?
  3. Do they feel forced and gratuitous—inserted merely to extend the story?

6. Does the author ratchet up the suspense? Did you find yourself anxious—quickly turning pages to learn what happened? A what point does the suspense start to build? Where does it climax...then perhaps start rising again?

7. A good ending is essential in any mystery or crime thriller: it should ease up on tension, answer questions, and tidy up loose ends. Does the ending accomplish those goals?

  1. Is the conclusion probable or believable?
  2. Is it organic, growing out of clues previously laid out by the author (see Question 3)?
  3. Or does the ending come out of the blue, feeling forced or tacked-on?
  4. Perhaps it's too predictable.
  5. Can you envision a different or better ending?

8. Are there certain passages in the book—ideas, descriptions, or dialogue—that you found interesting or revealing...or that somehow struck you? What lines, if any, made you stop and think?

9. Overall, does the book satisfy? Does it live up to the standards of a good crime story or suspense thriller? Why or why not?

(Generic Mystery Questions by LitLovers. Please feel free to use them, online or off, with attribution. Thanks.)

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