The Jewels of Paradise

The Jewels of Paradise

A Novel

Audiobook CD - 2012
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Donna Leon has won heaps of critical praise and legions of fans for her bestselling mystery series featuring Commissario Guido Brunetti, one of contemporary crime fiction's most beloved characters. With The Jewels of Paradise, Leon takes readers beyond the world of the Venetian Questura in her first stand-alone novel. Caterina Pellegrini is a native Venetian, and like so many of them, she's had to leave home to pursue her career elsewhere, mostly abroad. With a doctorate in baroque opera from Vienna, she lands in Birmingham, England, as a research fellow and assistant professor. Birmingham, however, is no Venice, so when she gets word of a position back home, Caterina jumps at the opportunity. The job is an unusual one. After nearly three centuries, two locked trunks, believed to contain the papers of a once-famous, now largely forgotten baroque composer, have been discovered. The composer was deeply connected in religious and political circles, but he died childless, and now two Venetian men, descendants of his cousins, each claim inheritance. With rumors of a treasure, they aren't about to share the possible fortune. Caterina has been hired to attend the opening of the trunks and examine any enclosed papers to discover the "testamentary disposition" of the composer. But when her research takes her in unexpected directions and a silent man follows her through the streets, she begins to wonder just what secrets these trunks may hold. The Jewels of Paradise is a superb novel, a gripping tale of intrigue, music, history, and greed.
Publisher: North Kingstown, RI : AudioGO, p2012.
ISBN: 9781620644867
Branch Call Number: FIC Leon
Characteristics: 8 audio discs (8 hr., 51 min.) : digital ; 4 3/4 in.
Additional Contributors: Campbell, Cassandra


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Cdnbookworm Feb 11, 2013

This is the first of her books I've read that isn't part of the Commissario Brunetti series, and I enjoyed it. Food wasn't as prevalent here as in the Brunetti books, but it still gets a mention every now and then.
Here we have musicologist Caterina Pellegrini, as the main character. Caterina has a love for song, but knew she wasn't of the caliber to go far in a singing career. She tried law, and was unsatisfied so decided to go into the study of music, specializing in baroque opera. Unfortunately for her, jobs were not in abundance and she ended up in a university in England. Thanks to a contact there, she has found a short-term contract position back in her home town of Venice, going through the papers in two trunks belonging to a 17th century composer, right in her time period.
The men that hired her are after a treasure they believe was hidden by the composer, and the lawyer serving as intermediary may have his own agenda. Caterina is an interesting woman, passionate about her chosen field, and a good researcher, fluent in many languages. She has a good relationship with her family and maintains contact with them despite the distance sometimes between them. The composer was also a bishop and Caterina finds herself thinking about religion a bit more than usual.
This book has intrique, humour, and a good story. I'd sure love to see Caterina again. The reader for the audiobook did an amazing job, using a lovely Italian accent throughout, making me feel like I was there in Venice. Like all her books, this one really brings Venice to life. Really loved the ending.

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