Saturday, May 15, 2010

Mama Shepp's Family Recommends...

This week's recommendation once again comes from Rhode Island. The Rhoadies have both read and enjoyed Paul Adam's The Rainaldi Quartet and Paganini's Ghost - and recommend they be read in that order. Here's what they have to say:

"We just finished reading Paganini's Ghost by Paul Adam. His earlier "The Rainaldi Quartet" set the stage with a group of old friends in northern Italy who get together to play chamber music. The protagonist is a luthier, who makes his living repairing stringed instruments. His policeman buddy occasionally involves him in solving crimes. There is much music history; much of the pleasure of music and of the companionship of dear friends; some obligatory obeisance to Italian cuisine and a lot of the pleasure of a story well-told."

Booklist describes The Rainaldi Quartet this way:
In Cremona, Italy, a violin maker is murdered, stabbed through the neck with a chisel. When his devastated friends, including police detective Guastafeste, discover that the dead man was obsessed with finding an immensely valuable violin called the Messiah's Sister, built by the legendary Stradivarius, they decide to continue his quest. There are only two problems: the violin might not actually exist, and it looks like the murderer hasn't completed his grisly work.

And this to say about "Paganini's Ghost:"
A day after a heavily promoted violin recital in Cremona, Italy, at which prize-winning Russian prodigy Yevgeny Ivanov plays the priceless violin once owned by Paganini, a visiting French art dealer is found murdered in his hotel room. When a scrap of paper torn from a Paganini piece played by Ivanov seems key to opening an ornate gold box found in the victim’s possession, violin maker Gianni Castiglione (introduced in The Rainaldi Quartet, 2006) is called into the case by his friend, police detective Antonio Guastafeste. Castiglione cracks the code to find that the now-empty box once housed a small violin, setting him—with Guastafeste—on a cross-continental search, during which other murders are committed, and Castiglione must call on his knowledge of history, genealogy, and provenance to find long-missing treasures and solve the crimes.

As a lover of classical music and pretty much anything to do with Italy, I think I'm going to have to add these mysteries to my summer reading list.

Girolamo Rainaldi (1570 – July 15, 1655) was an Italian architect who worked on the whole in a conservative Mannerist style, often with collaborating architects, yet was a successful competitor of Bernini. His son, Carlo Rainaldi, became an even more notable, more fully Baroque architect.

Niccolò Paganini (27 October 1782 – 27 May 1840) was an Italian violinist, violist, guitarist, and composer. He was one of the most celebrated violin virtuosi of his time, and left his mark as one of the pillars of modern violin technique. His Caprice No. 24 in A minor, Op. 1, is among the best known of his compositions, and has served as an inspiration for many prominent composers.


  1. I love the sound of both of these! Heading strait to Amazon to add to my wishlist! (Not that I usually buy books there, it's just a great place to keep track of what I want to read!)

  2. They both sound like moody, great reads!

  3. Both look intriguing. I love books with history. I will check these out

  4. I'm with the others as these sound really interesting from the descriptions offered. Thanks for bringing them to my attention, Lisa.

  5. Hadn't yet heard of these books, but they both look great. I think they sound very atmospheric and interesting. Thanks for sharing them with us! Going to add these to my wish list!