The Jewels of Paradise

The Jewels of Paradise

by Donna Leon
3.0 31

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Overview

The Jewels of Paradise by Donna Leon

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780802120649
Publisher: Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
Publication date: 10/02/2012
Pages: 256
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.10(d)

About 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.

Hometown:

Venice, Italy

Date of Birth:

February 28, 1942

Place of Birth:

Montclair, New Jersey

Education:

B.A., 1964; M.A. 1969; postgraduate work in English literature

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The Jewels of Paradise 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 31 reviews.
tedfeit0 More than 1 year ago
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.)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.......?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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
ThornyAH More than 1 year ago
Very disappointing. The only saving grace of this book is Leon's always elegant style. Otherwise, the characters aren't well developed, it's boring and tedious to the point that the reader just wants the book to be done and over with. Best to stick to Brunetti.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I had to drag myself through this book thinking that it would become more interesting.  The style was bland, the characters were dull, and the plot was nonexsistent.  It may have made a good short story.  The only resemblance to the Donna Leon who writes Brunetti stories is that it took place in Venice.  I hope there are no more stories with this character.
PurplePrincess1946 More than 1 year ago
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.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The least interesting of Donna Leon's novels. Very little action, much repetition, no surprises. She should stick with Inspector Brunetti mysteries.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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).
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