For a final review this month, just squeaking into German Literature Month with a corking mix of humour and murder mystery: here comes Auntie Poldi! You’ve got to love her: fabulously eccentric, German, retired to Sicily to be near the Italian side of the family, and to drink herself to death with a sea view, flirts with policemen, is acquainted with an unfeasible number of famous rock stars, sees off an aggressive gander by means of a stream of Bavarian invective and gets embroiled in the investigation into the murder of her young handyman.
The tale is told by her nephew, an aspiring writer who gets roped in to help with her house move, then persuaded of the advantages of frequent visits to write in the *peace* of Auntie Poldi’s guest room. Of course, all the characters are larger than life, Auntie Poldi is endearing and hilarious, and her nephew suitably long-suffering and tolerant in his reports of her exploits.
It has been said from time to time that German humour and British humour…well, let’s just say it’s alleged they’re very different. This book (and indeed, the series) is a treat in either language. Mario Giordano’s writing style mixes poignant moments and farcical humour with engaging flair, and translator John Brownjohn treats us here to a creative and masterful translation which does total justice to the original, indeed offering more than full value for money as he draws out the humour with pitch-perfect precision to have an English-speaking audience snorting with laughter.
Many thanks again to publishers John Murray Press and reviewers’ website NetGalley for providing the English translation for review.
Deli Counter verdict: a spicy calzone with wurst and pickled gherkin thrown in.