The first in a series of crime novels starring the intrepid Aunt Poldi. Thoroughly sick of life, Poldi moves from Bavaria to Sicily in order to drink herself to death with a sea view. Aided by her nephew, an aspiring author who is also the narrator of this novel, she drives to Sicily and finds the home of her dreams, conveniently located by a hypermarket with a plentiful supply of alcohol. But before hard liquor and depression get the better of her, fate intervenes with a mission.
Valentino, an attractive young man from the village who has been doing odd jobs in Poldi’s house, disappears without trace. Poldi sets out to investigate his disappearance herself, but when she finds Valentino’s corpse on the beach, his face blown off with a sawn-off shotgun, she becomes a potential suspect in his murder case. Poldi soon falls for the gorgeous Commissario Montana assigned to lead the case, and after some initial misunderstandings they form an investigative – and romantic – partnership. The delightful detail of this romance, and the extreme awkwardness of its retelling to her mortified nephew, produce some of the novel’s many high points, and exemplify the work’s warmth and wit.