Paganini – showman, womaniser, dazzling virtuoso – is one of the most fascinating characters in the history of classical music. His violin is now kept in Genoa, where it is played once every two years by the winner of an international competition. This year, an unsavoury art dealer is found dead in his hotel room the day after the concert. Clutched in his fist is a scrap of sheet music torn off a page that belongs to the competition winner. But how did the dead man get hold of it? And why? The police ask for violinmaker Castiglione to help them unravel a mystery that has gone unanswered for over a century.
©2009 Paul Adam (P)2012 Isis Publishing Ltd
How tempting it would be to say, " please start again, this time with more andante." Yes, the reader happily gets to know the names of a lot more pieces of music. Yes, the reader can applaud the evidence of some no doubt satisfying research by the author. But the story remains limpid. It is a pale promise of what might have happened on the next page of some missing sheet of music. Cajoled into believing that the quest these two blokes are on might be worth joining, the reader plods along from researched find to researched find. Links are made, predictably, right in front of our..ears." Yes, yes, yes ..but I guessed this," escaped from my lips far too often not to take notice and sigh.This listener would have liked a bit more andante mobile in fact..less tired, world weariness and more athletic story development.And again, we have a story where the landscape may be dotted with the wonders of the Italian countryside but it would seem all the women have gone shopping? Or perhaps they have all died or left? Or they are too old even to stay in the story to cook?
I am off to find some un cult-like, un- religious Zen. "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance," an old favourite, as I remember it way back in the 70's. The women are absent of course..there is little room in your average Existentialist's life for any women of value. This should be bearable because I remember the notions being sufficiently lightweight, as represented in the novel, but interesting. We shall see.
Perhaps the scene at The Funeral where Zen and il Principe are written at their finest. Plus it felt like Mr Kitchen was a bit tired that day and his " loud, banging style," momentarily wavered.
Interestingly I will say yes. Why? Because I love research, music, wit, the Italian countryside and people. I remain loyal to all the above and I sensed that Mr Dibdin was on the wane. My sympathies..somewhat belatedly.
Quality. In this particular instance, the listener gets a nice proximation.
"Good plot - well read - and music link fascinating"
I listen to a lot of audible books (whilst dog walking, ironing, driving to meetings etc) and I think this is probably the best I have listened to thus far. I came to this via Sean Barrett who I find an excellent reader but this particular download is a 100% on every score. The plot is good, the characters wonderfully drawn and the reading - very slow - is absolutely spot on. I cannot recommend it highly enough and I am now at this moment going to look at other titles from the author who I have not come across before.
"An imaginative detective story"
Thanks to the favourable reviews of other listeners I downloaded this interesting and imaginative detective story. I have a rudimentary knowledge of music and know little about the finer points of playing the violin but enjoyed all the musical, technical and historical information that is seamlessly woven into parallel narratives: a modern one of a young virtuoso violinist giving concerts in Italy and another based on Paganini's life.
The main characters are well drawn and the narrative gathers pace to become so gripping that I couldn't stop listening and finished the book very quickly. In the over-populated category of detective fiction the author has created a memorable book.
Sean Barrett has an attractive natural voice that's a pleasure to listen to but is also adept at performing in different accents, ages and genders which he does to perfection in this recording.
"Different but brilliant!"
This is one of the most unusual modern murder detective stories I've listened to in many years of being an audiobook fan. The story was so interesting I found myself Googling Paganini and his Guarneri violin, "Il Cannone". The cast is full of famous characters and anyone interested in history and classical music will love it, as well as any detective story afficianados.
The main protagonist Gianni, is a violin maker, repairer and amateur sleuth, who with his police friend, Antonio, sets out to solve a mystery and a murder committed in Cremona, Italy, after a shy young prize winning violinist plays "Il Cannone" at a concert in the cathedral,
The narrator is the inestimable Sean Barrett, who is terrific as usual. (He'd even be brilliant reading the phone directory!)
Can't think why there aren't more ratings and reviews for this book. Please try it, you'll love it.
I'm hoping to hear more from Paul Adam, his writing is terrific.
"A total joy!"
I have to admit the initial reason I bought this was Sean Barratt...however, I really enjoyed it...good to be immersed in Italy! Interesting to learn about violins...a well written tale of intrigue, a crime thriller with a difference. Obviously narrated perfectly by the velvet voiced Sean Barratt...he is exceptional as always!
"A pleasure from start to finish"
A truly wonderful listen. A gentle but intriguing story with such engaging characters and rich history. All comes to life thanks to Sean Barratt who is so superb - I now download books that he narrates regardless of subject matter, the man could read out a telephone directory and I would pay to listen.
"Excellent murder mystery set in Italy"
I really enjoyed listening to this book. It is a murder mystery set in Italy, where the story unravels through the eyes of a middle aged violin maker/repairer and the context is the classical music scene. The characterisation and plot are excellent, although the overall pace is a little on the slow side. This is mainly due to small excursions into musical history, which were very interesting, but not, perhaps, essential. If you enjoy: classical music, good food, works of art, Italy and murder mysteries then you will enjoy this novel.
"A musical detective..."
Strictly speaking this is a detective story. It has all the necessary requisites and details - a dead body, mystery and romance. At the same time it gives added value with the side line of historic information on Paganini, famous violin makers. So, this might not be a book for those who look for constant action and tension as in "normal" crime stories. All in all interesting, and enjoyable. Good performance by narrator.
"Can't put this audiobook down"
It's a fascinating story & very well read
It held me from the very start, I just had to keep listening
Can't say without ruining e plot
I loved the voice it seemed to fit the character perfectly
It has history, intrigue and humanity in it.
I liked the violin maker as he was in many ways an ordinary man with a passion for his craft and then became involved in a quest.
No, so can't compare
"What a fantastic and captivating story"
No, but I seldom listen to an audiobook again.
The main character is wonderful. So much insight, so gentle and yet so characterful.
Yes, Sean Barrett is by far my favourite narrator of all time. He makes a story come alive.
Actually, the ending.
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