Russell James has been named “the Godfather of Noir” by Ian Rankin. Russell writes crime novels - about criminals and victims, not the cozy procedural or whodunnit. He is the editor of Great British Fictional Detectives.
Giordano’s first novel (translated from the German, since he has lived there since 1963) is a light-hearted tale of a sixty year old amateur detective, the frisky Aunt Poldi, recently ensconced in Sicily, who becomes convinced that a handsome young man she has had her eye on has been murdered, and that she can find by whom.
Off she sets on her scatty quest, which is soon derailed when she herself is suspected of having killed him. She soon brushes this aside and develops a fresh crush on Commissario Montana. She is already, of course, in love with Sicily – its food, people, scenery and ice-cream.
A touch I particularly liked in this gentle beach read was the deliberately old-fashioned way that each chapter is headed by a potted summary of what’s to follow. Chapter 7 “Tells of falling between two stools and the three phases of seduction,” while Chapter 8 “Tells of Inspector Chance and how Poldi discovers the identity of Mr X with his help. She has to swallow her pride several times in quick succession, and she isn’t the only one.”
Well, it’s different.
[Editors Note : translated into English by John Brownjohn]