The Rainaldi Quartet

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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 as it is shocking. Rainaldi had few possessions, no enemies and little money. No one - least of all the police - can fathom a motive for murdering him. All he really had was an obsessive love of violins and an encyclopedic knowledge of them.

But what if he knew more than anyone ...

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The Rainaldi Quartet

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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 as it is shocking. Rainaldi had few possessions, no enemies and little money. No one - least of all the police - can fathom a motive for murdering him. All he really had was an obsessive love of violins and an encyclopedic knowledge of them.

But what if he knew more than anyone else - not just about famous violins, but about missing violins? Ones of the caliber of the fabled Messiah, Stradivari's most sublime creation, the Mona Lisa of the music world. A violin now in the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford - and worth millions…

Aided by his friend, policeman Antonio Guastafeste, Gianni starts to investigate the dead man's affairs. Affairs that reveal an appointment in Venice with the eccentric and exceedingly rich violin-collector Enrico Forlani, and a trail that winds back to a mysterious musical past - and a far from harmonious future.

Retracing Rainaldi's steps, the two men find themselves involved in a sequence of startling events — another murder, a mysterious Englishman, and an unscrupulous violin-dealer. A chain of events that careers across Italy and England as they become players in a game where musical instruments change hands for millions, forgery is an art form, and the preferred method of negotiation is murder.

Accompanied by two centuries of myth, music, and mystery, The Rainaldi Quartet provides a fascinating glimpse into a closed world - played at a rhythm that is fast-paced, furious, and unforgettable.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Praise for PAUL ADAM and THE RAINALDI QUARTET

"A fascinating historical journey into the mystery of a legendary lost Stradivarius violin." -The Sunday Telegraph (UK)

"From the first stirring theme to the last fading chord, mystery fans and music lovers alike will be captivated by British author Adam's excellent contemporary thriller. ... Adam has constructed this tale with all the care and craftsmanship that Stradivari put into his instruments, filling it to the brim with deliciously caustic commentary on Italian city life and fascinating historical detail." -Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"Tension that resonates like flawlessly tuned strings… complex and sumptuously pleasing." -The Guardian (UK)

"A distinctly atmospheric thriller" -The Mail on Sunday (UK)

"Riveting stuff that goes to the heart of the matter…. [The Rainaldi Quartet] is a deeply satisfying book." -Literary Review (UK)

"Wonderfully plotted, fast-paced, and refreshingly original." -Nelson DeMille on Flash Point

Marilyn Stasio
We all read in our own ways, so you'll forgive me if I choose to wallow in the hilarious chapters where Gianni indulges in one delicious slander after another about the Venetians, whom he calls "a green and slippery people, like their city."
— The New York Times
Publishers Weekly
From the first stirring theme to the last fading chord, mystery fans and music lovers alike will be captivated by British author Adam's excellent contemporary thriller. Gianni Castiglione, a violin maker who lives in rural Italy, plays in a string quartet with fellow luthier Rainaldi, parish priest Father Arrighi and police detective Guastafeste. When Rainaldi is murdered after dropping hints about a search for a rare and magnificent violin, Father Arrighi conducts the funeral and Guastafeste investigates, aided by Castiglione's thorough knowledge of violin construction and history. As they travel across Italy and England tracking down clues and suspects, a rich and subtle story unfolds. Adam has constructed this tale with all the care and craftsmanship that Stradivari put into his instruments, filling it to the brim with deliciously caustic commentary on Italian city life and fascinating historical and musical detail. If the mystery itself is slightly less than compelling, it's because the storytelling almost overwhelms the crime solving. The gentle exposition helps the layman keep up without condescension. (Feb.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A valuable violin triggers multiple murders in contemporary Italy. Shortly after playing a bit of Beethoven with his friends Tomaso Rainaldi, a retired professional musician and sometime violin teacher, and Antonio Guastafeste, a local detective, Gianni Castiglione, an elderly luthier (that is, a maker of stringed instruments), gets a worried call at his Lombardy countryside home from Rainaldi's wife Clara. His friend hasn't come home and is soon found stabbed near his abandoned car. Guastafeste, a generation younger than narrator Castiglione or Rainaldi, returns when he's assigned to the case. Because Castiglione's technical knowledge makes him a valuable resource, he accompanies Guastafeste on his investigation, which begins with Venetian violin collector Dottor Forlani, who lives in squalor but spends a small fortune on instruments. They learn that Rainaldi had contacted Forlani about acquiring a valuable violin known as the "Messiah's Sister." Not long after their visit, Forlani is likewise murdered by someone as ruthless as he is determined. The mystery's trail, which includes old letters and older tombs, follows a network of auction houses and black-market dealings across Italy and western Europe, climaxing at Casale Monferrato, the cement capital of Italy. The leisurely, rococo storytelling perfectly suits the subtle pleasures of the tale. Adam (Flash Point, 2004, etc.) offers lots of European history and an engrossing look at a subculture of the classical music world as well as a nifty mystery.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312350048
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 2/21/2006
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 320
  • Product dimensions: 5.78 (w) x 8.46 (h) x 1.17 (d)

Meet the Author

PAUL ADAM grew up in the north of England, and studied law at Nottingham University. He began his writing career as a journalist and has worked in Rome as well as England. He has written nine novels, including Unholy Trinity,Shadow Chasers, Genesis II, and Flash Point. He lives in Sheffield, England, with his wife and two children.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 5 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 11, 2012

    Well crafted!

    This book was an excellent read; in fact I read it twice and each time I read the first chapter twice because it crafts the stage for the entire work so well. I was fascinated with the characters and the historical value. Bravo

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  • Posted January 13, 2011

    awesome book!

    I am an amateur musician (violin) who is obsessed with all things classical music/violin related. There's a line in this book about how the violin is "in tune with the human soul"....that quote (and this book overall) reminds me why I love music so much...both of Adam's books are utterly brilliant, rich in knowledge with creative plot lines flawlessly woven in. I applaud you, Mr. Adams; Paganini's Ghost was an excellent read and The Rainalid Quartet does not disappoint.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 9, 2008

    A Book to Die For

    Engrossing read, killer ending!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 14, 2006

    A pleasant, easy read

    Personally, I would give it 5 stars. If you like violins, this is the book for you. If not, it's still a great read, but there's so much in it for the violin enthusiast. A nice balance of history, technical details, and suspense. The setting descriptions were terrific also. I hope to see more form Mr. Adam in the near future.

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    the whodunit is terrific

    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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