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Monday, July 29, 2013

The Rainaldi Quartet: A Legendary Violin Brings Murder to Cremona, Italy

The Rinaldi Quartet by Paul Adam is a book that I suggested for the mystery F2F group that I attend, and they selected it.  I was pleased because it sounded unusual. The central character who investigates the case is luthier Gianni Castiligione. Luthiers  make stringed instruments. The Wikipedia Article on Luthiers shows a picture of a luthier's workshop in Cremona, Italy where this book largely takes place.  The mystery is about more than the murdered luthier, Tomasso Rinaldi.  It deals with a quest for a legendary violin.  I hoped to get an education about luthiers, violins and their history.


I did learn a great deal. I researched a number of violinists referred to in this book who were previously unknown to me.  In this context, I would like to mention Louis Spohr (1784-1859). Not only did his tremendously valuable Del Gesu violin get stolen as we are told in this novel, but I learned from Louis Spohr on Wikipedia that his opera Jessonda was banned by the Nazis because it deals with a romantic relationship between a Portuguese general and a princess of India which the Nazis considered an example of  heinous race mixing.

I really liked the perspective of The Rainaldi Quartet .We get to see into Gianni Castilliogne's mind. We get insight into how he experiences music and his love for violins. I was impressed by what he had to say to Rainaldi's granddaughter, a budding violinist.

Other good points of this novel were the plotting, the background about luthiers, violin dealers and the history of violins. I was also interested in the historical and cultural background of Cremona, Italy.The story about the violin dealer at the Festival of the Dove was quite vivid.

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