The Jewels of Paradise

( 30 )

Overview

Internationally praised for her Commissario Guido Brunetti series, Donna Leon’s first standalone novel features a widely different but equally compelling sleuth, Caterina Pellegrini. Caterina is a native Venetian, and like so many of them, she’s had to leave home to pursue her career. With a doctorate in baroque opera from Vienna, she lands in Manchester, England. Manchester, however, is no Venice. When Caterina gets word of a position back home, she jumps at the opportunity.

...

See more details below
Audiobook (CD - Unabridged)
$47.98
BN.com price
(Save 19%)$59.95 List Price
The Jewels of Paradise

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 7.0
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 10.1
  • NOOK HD Tablet
  • NOOK HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK eReaders
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$9.99
BN.com price
(Save 28%)$14.00 List Price
This digital version does not exactly match the physical book displayed here.

Overview

Internationally praised for her Commissario Guido Brunetti series, Donna Leon’s first standalone novel features a widely different but equally compelling sleuth, Caterina Pellegrini. Caterina is a native Venetian, and like so many of them, she’s had to leave home to pursue her career. With a doctorate in baroque opera from Vienna, she lands in Manchester, England. Manchester, however, is no Venice. When Caterina gets word of a position back home, she jumps at the opportunity.

The job is an unusual one. After nearly three centuries, two locked trunks, believed to contain the papers of Agostino Steffani, a baroque composer have been discovered. Deeply-connected in religious and political circles, the composer died childless; now two Venetians, descendants of his cousins, each claim inheritance. Caterina’s job is to examine any papers found in the trunks to discover Steffani’s “testamentary disposition” of the composer. But when her research takes her in unexpected directions she begins to wonder just what secrets these trunks may hold. From a masterful writer, The Jewels of Paradise is a superb novel, a gripping tale of intrigue, music, history and greed.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

The Washington Post
…Leon's first stand-alone mystery, and, while it is undeniably strange to be wandering through Venice without the protection of Brunetti's solid presence, the young heroine of this novel is so winning that readers should find themselves forgiving the commissario his absence…The Jewels of Paradise is as much a tale about a young woman wising up and learning to fight more effectively for her own happiness as it is a mystery…Commissario Brunetti is allowed to take a vacation once in a while, but only if his replacements are as wry and erudite as Caterina.
—Maureen Corrigan
Publishers Weekly
Taking something of a gondolier’s holiday from her popular Commissario Guido Brunetti procedurals (Beastly Things, etc.), bestseller Leon debuts a stand-alone. Opera expert Caterina Pellegrini, who’s been teaching in Manchester, England, returns home to Venice to accept an unorthodox assignment: researching the contents of recently discovered trunks believed to have belonged to a once renowned baroque composer, Agostino Steffani, who was also a bishop and a diplomat, so that his avaricious descendants can divide the estate. A more compelling mystery for the musicologist, however, concerns what lessons Steffani’s life might offer as she wrestles with her own future. Despite the intriguing setup, Leon uncharacteristically fails to mine the premise for maximal emotion. There’s too much obscure historical detail relative to the development of Steffani’s character, lesser figures change arbitrarily to suit the plot’s convenience, and finally, out of the blue, there’s a slapdash deus ex machina ending. Consider this one a paradise lost. Agent: Diogenes Verlag AG. (Oct.)
From the Publisher
“Fascinating. … her first stand-alone … boasts the same sensitivity to human behavior that distinguishes her Guido Brunetti series.”—Bill Ott, Booklist

“A veteran mystery maven weaves present-day Venice into a 300-year-old puzzle in this engaging stand-alone. … [The Jewels of Paradise] packs the charms of Venice into a smart whodunit.”—Kirkus Reviews

“While it is undeniable strange to be wandering through Venice without the protection of Brunetti’s solid presence, the young heroine of this novel is so winning that readers should find themselves forgiving the Commissario his absence. … The Jewels of Paradise is as much a tale about a young woman wising up and learning to fight more effectively for her own happiness as it is a mystery—though the centuries-old secrets that those chests contain are also pretty compelling. Commissario Brunetti is allowed to take a vacation once in a while, but only if his replacements are as wry and erudite as Caterina.”—Maureen Corrigan, The Washington Post

The Jewels of Paradise... shares some features of the Brunetti mysteries—Venice’s mash-up of high and low culture, corrupt businessmen and Italian-style family squabbles. It also shares Leon’s elegant prose, with humorous, wonderfully detailed descriptions as seen through the eyes of her heroine.”—Jennifer Melick, Opera News

Library Journal
No, not another of Leon's engaging mysteries starring Commissario Guido Brunetti but a stand-alone novel—though it's still set in Venice. Baroque opera expert Caterina Pellegrini has returned home to oversee the opening of two just-discovered trunks containing the effects (and maybe a fortune?) of a baroque composer who once reigned supreme. Lovely to see Leon spread her wings, and she writes persuasively about music; a related CD recorded by a world-famous singer is in the works.
Library Journal
Leon's first stand-alone novel, like her bestselling Commissario Brunetti mystery series (Beastly Things; Drawing Conclusions), is set in present-day Venice. Caterina Pellegrini, a researcher and music scholar, is finally offered a job in her native Venice after years of pursuing her career abroad. Hired by two "cousins" to settle their rival claims of ownership, Caterina is presented with two trunks that hold the papers of a 17th-century composer. She discovers not only unpublished scores but references to a hidden treasure. Aided by her large and well-connected family, Caterina investigates the composer and the cousins to discover the truth of the mysterious jewels. VERDICT Steeped in the language and music of the past, this novel lingers between the baroque era and the modern world, leading the reader on an informed ramble though Venice. Leon's fans will appreciate this change of pace, and new readers will be drawn to her uniquely Venetian characters. [See Prepub Alert, 5/15/12.]—Catherine Lantz, Morton Coll. Lib., Cicero, IL
Kirkus Reviews
A veteran mystery maven weaves present-day Venice into a 300-year-old puzzle in this engaging stand-alone. Caterina Pellegrini has much in common with author Leon (Beastly Things, 2012, etc.). Like Leon, Caterina is a scholar as well as a fan of Baroque opera. Unlike her creator, Caterina is a native-born Venetian who returns to her beloved city for an unusual temp job. Eager to get back to La Serenissima, she has accepted a commission from two venal cousins and their suave lawyer to examine the contents of two locked trunks. The trunks are believed to contain the papers of a long-dead composer. And while the cousins are hoping for rumored riches, "Jewels of Paradise," Caterina suspects that she will find the answers to a bigger mystery: whether the composer was involved in the 1694 disappearance of a German count. Along the way, she discovers the hidden story of the composer's tragic life and, perhaps, puts her own back on track. As in Leon's immensely popular Guido Brunetti series, mysteries featuring a Venetian police detective, the appeal of this book is as much in the setting as in the plot. When Caterina stops for a snack at the "ridiculously small bar that used to serve tiny pizzas topped with a single anchovy," we stop with her, and enjoy a Venetian "spritz" as well. And while this new amateur sleuth lacks Brunetti's warm family, she has her share of witty friends, such as the drunken Romanian who wonders how Fra Angelico's angels managed to don their robes over their wings. ("Velcro," she tells him.) While the plot can get a bit academic at times--mixing Catholic Church politics with music and legal terms--Leon knows when to draw back and enjoy a glass of wine. While lacking some of the warmth of the Brunetti series, Leon's stand-alone still packs the charms of Venice into a smart whodunit.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780792795032
  • Publisher: AudioGO
  • Publication date: 10/1/2012
  • Format: CD
  • Edition description: Unabridged
  • Pages: 8
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 7.30 (h) x 1.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Donna Leon is the author of the international best-selling Commissario Guido Brunetti series. The winner of the CWA Macallan Silver Dagger for Fiction, among other awards, Leon was born in New Jersey and has lived in Venice for thirty years.

Biography

Donna Leon's love affair with Italy began in the mid-1960s when she visited for the first time. She returned frequently over the course of the next decade, while working as a teacher in such far-flung paces as Switzerland, Saudi Arabia, England, Iran, and China. In the 1980s, the New Jersey native made the decision to move to Venice, where she still lives.

Leon's writing career began accidentally. One evening, following a performance at Venice's famous opera house, Teatro La Fenice, Leon and some friends were discussing a certain conductor they all heartily disliked. Someone jokingly suggested killing him off; and when the conversation turned to how, where, and why, suddenly the idea for a dandy murder mystery took shape in Leon's mind. Published in 1992, Death at La Fenice introduced Commissario Guido Brunetti, the melancholy Venetian policeman who would go on to star in a series of witty, intelligently plotted, and critically acclaimed detective novels.

Brunetti is, indeed, one of the most appealing characters in crime fiction, and one of the pleasures of the series is the revelation of new and surprising facets to his personality. Intellectual, introspective, and world weary, he is also happily married, totally committed to his job, and a lover of classical music, good food, and jokes. But, above all, Guido Brunetti is "Venetian to the bone" -- born into and shaped by a society filled with cultural contradictions. Through her detective's eyes, Leon illuminates the central paradox of Venice: Beneath the ravishing beauty and civilized veneer lurks a core of insidious and utterly pervasive corruption. Brunetti's cynicism stems from his inability to stem the tide -- although, bless his heart, he never stops trying.

Elegant writing, deft characterization, and lots of local color elevate the Brunetti novels above run-of-the-mill series, and Leon's reputation has grown with each installment. But although her books are international bestsellers, they have never been translated into Italian. The author explained why in an interview with National Public Radio: " I do not take any pleasure whatsoever in being a famous person. The tenor of my life would change if these books were translated into Italian, because I'm completely anonymous here." Anonymous in Venice, perhaps. Elsewhere, Donna Leon is a rock star!

Good To Know

An opera buff with a passion for baroque music, Leon has written the libretto for a comic opera entitled Dona Gallina.

For a few years, Leon reviewed crime fiction for the Sunday Times.

In Germany, several of the Commissario Brunetti novels have been adapted into television mini-series.

A woman of strong opinions, Leon reads voraciously for topical issues to use in her novels. Among the serious matters she has written about are industrial pollution, human trafficking, illegal adoption, and corruption in the Catholic Church.

Read More Show Less
    1. Hometown:
      Venice, Italy
    1. Date of Birth:
      February 28, 1942
    2. Place of Birth:
      Montclair, New Jersey
    1. Education:
      B.A., 1964; M.A. 1969; postgraduate work in English literature

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3
( 30 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(7)

4 Star

(7)

3 Star

(5)

2 Star

(5)

1 Star

(6)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 30 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 4, 2012

    Hard to put down

    Baroque music, some old chests, modern Venice, irresistable protagonist, mystery novel meets opera plot. The ending is satisfying except that the book is hard to put down.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 19, 2013

    Highly recommended

    Don't avoid this simply because it's not about Brunetti. This is a delightful story, clever and well written, and strongly recommended. Maybe this will become another series.......?

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 19, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    For the first time, Donna Leon has written a standalone novel af

    For the first time, Donna Leon has written a standalone novel after so many successful and popular Commissario Brunetti mysteries. Apparently opera is the author’s other passion, and so a once famous 17th century Italian Baroque composer, Steffani, serves as the focal point of this novel, set in the familiar Venice that serves so well in the Brunetti series, but to this reviewer hardly adds to this story.

    When two trunks containing the composer’s last worldly goods arrive in Venice, two cousins claim them as inheritance, tracing their ancestry back to Steffani. They retain an attorney who draws up a contract and persuades them to retain a researcher to determine which of the two sides of the family Steffani may have favored. They agree with his recommendation of “winner take all,” and Caterina Pellegrini is lured from her position at the University of Manchester to study the contents of the trunks.

    Thus the novel progresses as Caterina studies documents and researches the historical background in the library, uncovering little about any supposed treasure in the trunks, but a lot of information on the composer’s life and, of course, the music. The detail is overwhelming. And the question is: Was this trip necessary when the time and effort could have been applied to another Brunetti mystery? It’s not that the writing is not of the same high quality of past Donna Leon novels. Nor that the plot is wanting. It’s just that “The Jewels of Paradise” is not as amusing or intriguing as we’ve become accustomed to in a work by this author. It is, however, an interesting effort. (It should perhaps be added that the next Brunetti novel, “The Golden Egg,” will be published in April, 2013.)

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 17, 2013

    Mike in OC

    Lovingly written, this book is a Jewel! Once again Donna Leon brings to life the City and the people of Venice, evoking a sense of familiarity for readers of her previous work.
    Far from being 'slow' and 'too long', Ms Leon takes time to develop all of her major characters so as to give the reader some 'skin in the game'. I found myself caring greatly about the protagonist, an intellegent and independent young woman,who although aware of her limitations makes a career for herself that she loves.
    The resolution of the mystery is exquisitely ironic and in no sense did I see it coming!
    I recommend this book unreservedly..
    Michael Hodges

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 16, 2012

    Fascinating

    Do not miss this book because Commissario Brunetti is absent from its pages. Ms.Leon captures Venice under different circumstances and introduces a baroque music scholar trying to unravel a centuries old mystery involving a lesser know Italian composer whose music, coincidentally, is beginning to capture the interests of noted performers such as the great Italian singer, Cecilia Bartolli. A tremendous amount of research went into writting this novel, and there is much to be learned about intrigues of the European aristocracy in the 18th century.
    Denversmile

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 8, 2012

    Agree: Disappointment! Fortunately I borrowed the book from the

    Agree: Disappointment! Fortunately I borrowed the book from the library, so I'm not out $$... but compared to her Brunetti books, this one doesn't work.  Too long by half, too many unimportant details and historical names/relationships, and surprisingly the author doesn't make good use of the single element of suspense which surfaces once early on (to good reader effect) but disappears for the remainder of the book (except for a minor and insignificant reappearance).

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 13, 2014

    It was OK but not as I expected since I really liked the Brunetti series.

    Started off slow and failed to gain momentum. I was not interested in the main character, she was bland. Not much was happening througout the book. Venice was there, but not an important part of the book. I expected more from Leon.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 13, 2013

    The character of Caterina Pelligrini is as engaging and captivat

    The character of Caterina Pelligrini is as engaging and captivating as Brunetti. I hope that Ms Leon will continue to write about this character and her captivating family and delightful friends

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 24, 2013

    Disappointing

    The least interesting of Donna Leon's novels. Very little action, much repetition, no surprises. She should stick with Inspector Brunetti mysteries.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 10, 2012

    Disappointing.

    I have read ALL of the Guido Brunetti books by Ms. Leon. This stand-alone "mystery" is pathetic by comparison.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted November 27, 2012

    A disappointing effort

    Having enjoyed all the entire Guido Brunetti series this offering from Ms. Leon was, at best, a disappointment. Although it is unfair to demand of an author write in the same cadence and metre in every offering, this book bogged in historical minutia that did little to forward the story line. I offer it two stars out of deference to how much pleasure her other writing has given me over the years.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 26, 2012

    departure for Leon. Thought the book was incredibly boring. No

    departure for Leon. Thought the book was incredibly boring. Nothing of interest happened!

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 26, 2012

    Do not highly recommend

    This is the first Donna Leon book that I did not care for. I would not recommend this to anyone.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 17, 2012

    E,berstar

    "Yes?"

    0 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 12, 2012

    Spottedpelt

    "Emberstar?"

    0 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 9, 2012

    Boring!

    This book was very boring. The suspenseful parts went nowhere, too many obscure historical figures and obscure church politics, the ending was stupid and the main character wasn't very interesting. Just goes to show that you can't always rely on the ratings.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 27, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 19, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted July 22, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted April 29, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 30 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)