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Paperback The Rainaldi Quartet Book

ISBN: 1933397772

ISBN13: 9781933397771

The Rainaldi Quartet

(Book #1 in the Castiglione and Guastafeste Series)

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Format: Paperback

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Book Overview

Who would want to kill Tomaso Rainaldi, an elderly, unassuming violin-maker in the quiet Italian city of Cremona? For his friend and fellow violin-maker Gianni Castiglione, the murder is as mysterious... This description may be from another edition of this product.

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Great read!

This is a well-written page turner in which, by the way, you learn a lot about the violin trade. Perfect for a long airplane ride or the beach!

The most profoundly beautiful mystery I've ever read.

Picking up this book is like picking up a beautiful bouquet of flowers that are intricately mixed, or biting into a layered cake, each layer more exquisite than the last. It's difficult to know where to start to review this book. The plot of a quartet of men who play classical music together in Italy, makes our American cultural tendency of men getting together to play golf once a week look extremely shallow, is a good place to start. Four men with different lives, different jobs but an enjoyment of good music is extraordinary enough to draw attention today (though I remember my father spending time from work and family to play the trombone in a local symphony)...which may explain some of my feelings for this book. One man is killed for no obvious reason, and two of the other men, one a luther (a person who creates violins)like the man who was murdered, and the other, a detective are determined to find who murdered their beloved friend. With each page turning another layer of an intricately woven story comes with exquisite descriptions of the violin 'creating' industry--they do not make them, they are a creation as grand as any master's painting. This alone makes the book worth the read, in introducing the reader to a unique life with a uniquely-chosen career. Men and women who take wood and shape it into the curves of a musical instrument who must have an ear to finely tune the wood through sanding, through the varnishing, all the different techniques used to do this job...yet they themselves are not concert violinists...they merely make the job of a concert violinist easier. Adam writes beautifully of the Italy I would like to see someday. Not the crowded plazas of Vienna, but the back roads and little museums devoted to long forgotten artisans (though Stradivarius will probably never be forgoten). The author allows us as readers to see, to feel, to touch, to hear, to taste so much through words that I've rarely seen the skill in one author before...let alone one who writes a mystery. Not usually a genre one expects to find such a beautiful work in. This book is sheer elegance in everything; in the relationships between the four men and their families, the work they do which all require different but the same abilities (they all do types of research in different ways)...I cannot simply praise this book enough! Karen Sadler


Chalk up another profession in the bourgeoning list of those that count sleuths who solve murder mysteries among their membership. Paul Adam proves himself a worthy successor to Dick Francis and Tony Hillerman in creating Gianni Castiglione, a luthier, (violin maker) of Cremona, the Italian city where Stradivari, Guarneri and Amati once plied their trade. When Gianni's best friend, another luthier name Rainaldi, is murdered he feels honor-bound to track down the killer. In the process of following Castiglione about as he unravels the mystery, the reader learns a great deal about the history of violins, the craft of making them, and the unsavory business of counterfeiting valuable ones. Recommended.

"[This violin] is a work of art to rank alongside the 'Mona Lisa,' the Divine Comedy, the operas of

When Gianni Castiglione, a 63-year-old violin-maker from Cremona, meets the three friends with whom he has played string quartets for fifteen years, he has no way of knowing that within hours one of them, violin-maker Tomaso Rainaldi, will be found stabbed to death in his workshop. Tomaso has been searching for a missing Stradivari, "The Messiah's Sister," supposedly a twin to "Le Messie" ("The Messiah"), the most famous and most valuable violin on earth, now in the Ashmolean Museum in England and worth over ten million dollars. Castiglione tells Antonio Guastafeste, a detective with the Questura, who is another member of Rainaldi's quartet, that if "another perfect, untouched Stradivari," such as "The Messiah's Sister" were to come onto the open market, that it would be "an opportunity that comes once in a lifetime, maybe once in several lifetimes, if ever." As Castiglione and Guastafeste search for Rainaldi's killer by recreating Rainaldi's search for "The Messiah's Sister," they delve into all facets of violin history, craftsmanship, and ownership; the nature of collectors and their motivations; fakes and how they are created; and the importance of documentation and provenance. Investigating several competing collectors, Castiglione and Guastafeste eventually travel to Venice, the moors of rural England, a small town on the Po River, London, and various locations in and around Cremona. The concert debut of Rainaldi's young granddaughter and a London auction of rare violins are full of breathtakingly exciting moments, adding color and insight into the lives of serious violinists and collectors. Though the stories of the various violins are complex, the author's insights into the hidden world of violin collecting keep the reader on tenterhooks. The dramatic tension is enhanced through the character of the narrator, Gianni Castiglione, a man with whom the reader empathizes, and whose interior monologues and musings about Tomaso Rainaldi and his own deceased loved ones make his personal reactions to the unfolding events particularly moving. When this kind and sensitive man confesses to a crime committed when he was young, the reader is all the more shocked by the revelation. Additional deaths, mysterious strangers, a dotty old woman surrounded by cats, a cruelly jealous violin teacher, ancient and crumbling letters, a portrait containing secrets, a visit to a graveyard at night, and a life or death confrontation and race inject romantic elements into this challenging mystery and keep the action and excitement at a high pitch. Music lovers will thrill at this unusual mystery with its insights into the society of serious violin collectors, a novel that is carefully plotted and constructed, filled with a high level of unusual detail, and great fun to read. n Mary Whipple

virtuoso performance

In Italy, aging violin makers Castiglione and Rainaldi, Father Arrighi and police detective Guastafeste are players in a string quartet. The four men enjoy playing together as they respect one another though they can be quite caustic with one another; still they try to make as much time available to practice and perform. Rainaldi tells his friends especially Castiglione that he is on the trail of a great find, a priceless violin. However, instead of the glory and euphoria of a great find, someone kills Rainaldi. Father Arrighi performs the funeral attended by the other two men of their musical group as well as family and friends. Guastafeste investigates the homicide though he knows he has a personal stake that should probably exclude him from looking into the murder that he believes is tied to the rare violin. Castiglione assists him as a violin maker expert especially with his insight into construction. Clues soon lead the two men from their rural section of Italy to England, but uncovering the identity of the killing genius remains seemingly impossible even as the duet makes progress towards their objective. Though the whodunit is terrific it plays base to the rich textured musical perspective. The story line harmoniously blends the music with the murder mayhem without slowing down or neglecting either. Castiglione and Guastafeste are a wonderful pair, who at times are quite cutting with each other, as they follow clues in an effort to uncover the culprit who changed their quartet to a trio. Paul Adam provides a virtuoso performance. Harriet Klausner
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