Cover image for Auntie Poldi and the Handsome Antonio
Auntie Poldi and the Handsome Antonio
Physical Description:
288 p. ;

On Order

R.H. Stafford Library (Woodbury)1On Order
Hardwood Creek Library (Forest Lake)1On Order
Wildwood/Mahtomedi District Education Center 1On Order



The latest installment in Mario Giordano's best-selling series of charming mysteries, starring Sicily's most glamorous gumshoe, Auntie Poldi ("Long may she reign." *)

* Kirkus Reviews, starred review

All the beloved, irascible Auntie Poldi wanted from her Sicilian retirement was time to enjoy the sunshine, a free-flowing supply of wine, and a sultry romance with Chief Inspector Vito Montana. But then her idyll is rudely disrupted by the last person she wants to see on her doorstep: John Owenya, detective inspector with the Tanzanian Ministry of Home Affairs, who is also her estranged lying cheat of a husband.

Not only is John's sudden reappearance putting a kink in Poldi's dreamy love affair with Montana, but his presence also comes with a plea for help -- and unwanted clashes with the Mafia.

Where is John's half-brother? What is the ten-million-dollar "it" that John's brother was last seen with, which has both the Sicilian and the Tanzanian mobs in a frenzy? With only a postcard that has a phone number and a name, "Handsome Antonio," on the back, Auntie Poldi hops begrudgingly (albeit with a great deal of gumption and panache) back into the saddle (in this case, an immaculate red Maserati Cabrio from the eighties with cream leather upholstery). The faster she finds Handsome Antonio, the sooner she can get John Owenya out of her hair and her love life. But the people Poldi discovers along the way may very well knock her immaculate wig askew.

Reviews 3

Publisher's Weekly Review

Giordano's enjoyable third Auntie Poldi novel picks right up where 2019's Auntie Poldi and the Vineyards of Etna left off, with a surprise visit from Poldi's estranged Tanzanian husband, John Owenya. John has come to Sicily to investigate the disappearance of his half-brother, which is connected to the title's handsome Antonio. Poldi, John, and Poldi's current flame, Chief Insp. Vito Montana, set out to find Antonio, and are presented with plenty of candidates, all handsome and all named Antonio. Poldi, a 60-something Bavarian with a penchant for wigs, is soon crammed into a Maserati and on the run from a possible Mafia hit, along with her ne'er-do-well nephew (the unnamed narrator), her brother-in-law, and a flatulent dog, as they take a grand tour of the Sicilian back roads. The plot is thinner than in the two previous installments, but the prose remains sharp, the humor pointed, and Poldi--a whirlwind of sexual bravado and confidence--shines. Readers will hope to see a lot more of her. Agent: Jason Bartholomew, BKS Agency (U.K.). (May)

Kirkus Review

Dreams of a sweet Sicilian retirement are dashed for a Munich matron when her ex turns up and entices her into a murder investigation. The story opens at a moment of high drama: A shady character known as Handsome Antonio is holding a fish cleaver up to the throat of beloved Auntie Poldi. The witness and chronicler of this scene is her nephew, an aspiring writer who's the gregarious first-person narrator of her adventures (Auntie Poldi and the Sicilian Lion, 2018, etc.). Antonio wants, and assumes that Poldi has, "it!" But before the reader can learn what "it" is, the story flashes back to a visit Poldi receives from her Tanzanian ex-husband, John Owenya, whom she thought she was well rid of. Not only does this put a crimp in her budding relationship with Vito Montana; John's half brother, Thomas, has disappeared, presumably on the run from the Mafia. Given her reputation as a detective, it's no wonder that John wants Poldi's help. The only clue left behind is a card with the name "Handsome Antonio" and a 12-digit number printed on it. And so the game is afoot, Poldi's heedless headlong sleuthing (she rides a Vespa) chafing against her nephew's long-winded timidity. The murder of Thomas raises the stakes but doesn't darken the tone of this comic caper. There's no dearth of banter, chases, and narrow escapes. A dash of zest comes from capsule descriptions of the narrative at the beginning of each chapter. Giordano's third Auntie Poldi mystery is frothy, if forgettable, fun. Mrs. Pollifax would be proud. Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Booklist Review

In her third adventure (after Auntie Poldi and the Vineyards of Etna, 2019), former secret agent Poldi looks to enjoy her retirement in Sicily and a new romance with detective Vito Montana, only to have her plans disrupted by the arrival of John Owenya, her Tanzanian ex-husband. Poldi left Owenya after she discovered his "extra" family, but now he's back, shamelessly requesting her help. His half-brother, Thomas, has stolen a briefcase from a ruthless Tanzanian gangster, and Owenya has traced Thomas to Sicily. But Sicily has its own share of gangsters, and after Thomas' body is found sans package, the bad guys lean in: it's the briefcase, or Poldi's family. So Poldi and her nephew (our narrator) chase the elusive briefcase through picturesque villages, trailed by a mysterious Mob figure known only as Handsome Antonio. Along the way, encounters with a Finnish death-metal band, a giant Flemish rabbit, and an alluring traffic cop guide them toward their bounty and the answers to life's greatest mysteries. Wildly clever and delightfully absurd, Giordano's latest is a sure bet for fans of Christopher Moore's Pine Cove adventures.



Tells of the perils of intercultural communication, of men, fish cleavers, engine size and Poldi's past. Poldi is in something of a tight spot, Handsome Antonio gets noisy, Poldi's nephew burns some rubber, and Montana gets jealous again. And all because of John. Handsome Antonio was sick of messing around. He held a fish cleaver to my Auntie Poldi's throat--it resembled a machete and could easily have bisected a mature tuna ​-- ​and repeated his question.   "Where. Is. It?"   Whereupon my Auntie Poldi repeated her reply. "I've no idea what you're talking about, so put that in your pipe and smoke it!"   Which exemplifies the misunderstandings that were clogging the situation like limescale in a tap. The first one, of course, was lack of communication, because Handsome Antonio put his questions in strongly accented Sicilian Italian, whereas Poldi answered him in immaculate Bavarian German. Misunderstanding number two was the fact that Poldi hadn't a clue where "it" was. Handsome Antonio had hitherto rejected her asseverations to that effect by brandishing his cleaver and yelling, with the result that Poldi had dug in her heels and switched to Bavarian. From her point of view, what aggravated this extremely limited form of communication was misunderstanding number three: the tear-proof duct tape with which Handsome Antonio had secured her to a chair by her wrists and ankles. But the greatest misunderstanding, from my point of view, was . . . me. Like the crucial detail in a spot-the-error picture, I was sitting beside my aunt, secured to a chair likewise and almost wetting myself with terror. Expecting to bite the dust at any moment, I visualised my death as an amusing GIF animation looping endlessly on the internet: the cleaver whistling down, my panic-stricken face, the blade lopping off my head (like a knife through butter), the fountain of blood and finally the Great Light and some weird, plinky-plunky music.   I shouldn't be sitting here, I told myself--no, I certainly shouldn't be sitting here. Nor should my Auntie Poldi, of course, but in her case this series of misunderstandings could justifiably be regarded as an occupational hazard. I, on the other hand, was merely the chronicler of her escapades and investigations. I was the nerdy author of a half-baked family saga, the untalented nephew devoid of a girlfriend or profession. What was the point of slicing me in half? Needless to say, though, this cut no ice with Handsome Antonio. To him, we were both in the same boat.   The unproductive to and fro between my aunt and Handsome Antonio had bred a certain irascibility on both sides--one that was steadily eroding my hopes of a favourable outcome for the situation; they were in fact nearing zero. However, all of Antonio's threats seemed to trickle off my Auntie Poldi like beads of condensation off a freshly pulled tankard of beer. This was because, unlike me, she had the knack for switching to a belligerent mode that inoculated her against all kinds of everyday tribulations and fears of failure and the future. Admittedly, she could have looked better. Squinting sideways at her, I saw that her camouflage-pattern trouser suit was torn in several places. Her Nefertiti make-up was smudged after our strenuous crawl through the undergrowth, and a small graze was reddening on her forehead. She was still wearing her wig, but this had also suffered quite a bit on our trek; it was dishevelled and partially disintegrating. Although she didn't look her sixty years as a rule, your age tends to show when you're tied to a chair with your wig mussed up and your mascara smudged. That makes it hard to preserve a bella figura . I felt momentarily relieved that Vito Montana, the grumpy, chain-smoking, jealous commissario of police, Poldi's light of love and--according to her--a sexual force of nature, couldn't see her in that state, although Montana's presence would have signalled a welcome turn of events. Why? Because my Auntie Poldi and I were in a really tight spot.   "Go on, Poldi, tell him!" I hissed.   "I'm not telling him a thing, the jerk!"   Handsome Antonio now changed his interrogation tactic: he gave up on Poldi and applied the cleaver to my throat instead.   "Poldi!" I whimpered.   "Take it easy, my boy! If I tell him, he'll kill us anyway, you know that, don't you, so calm down, you hear? I know his sort. He's a typical leone di cancello , a textbook example of a paper tiger. Big mouth but no balls. Besides, Death hasn't turned up with his clipboard yet, so relax."   "Where. Is. It?"   "I'venoideaI'mjustthechauffeur!" I gasped in bad Italian.   "And a right wimp into the bargain!" said Poldi.   "Poldi, he's going to kill me!"   "Easy, sonny. Where there's a will, there's always a way." Excerpted from Auntie Poldi and the Handsome Antonio by Mario Giordano All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.