Holy Smoke by Tonino Benacquista

Holy Smoke

Tonino Benacquista

Tonio Polsinelli, born in Paris of Italian parents, inherits a vineyard near Naples when his friend Dario is shot in the head. What is so special about a small vineyard which produces awful wine, and why would anyone want to kill the owner, a singer and gigolo whom Tonio could not imagine harvesting grapes in the hot sun? Tonio travels to Italy to find the answer. If this sounds like a Mafia story you would be only partly right since this darkly humorous book is also about the impossibility of translating Italian into French, wine, miracles, the church, and the importance of matching the shape of the pasta to the sauce.

Antonio ... I haven't told you the most important part. I don't know why Dario was taken from me. But I know he's always harboured an incredible fear. A fear that this would all go wrong. He never talked to me about it, but he eventually put it in a letter. If anything happened to him, he wanted his land to go to the only people who had it in them to help him.
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