Title: The Rainaldi Quartet
Author: Paul Adam
Release Date: February 21, 2006
Publisher: Felony & Mayhem
Source: Personal Copy
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Gianni Castiglione is a luthier, a violin maker living in Italy. When one of his closest friends, Rainaldi, also a luthier, is murdered, he becomes involved in the investigation because of his expertise in violins. Why was Rainaldi murdered? Does it have anything to do with a famed missing Stradivarius violin?
I stumbled upon the book Paganini’s Ghost by Paul Adam when it was released in early 2010 and thought it sounded fascinating. I was thrilled to learn it was actually the second in a series, so I decided to seek out the first, The Rainaldi Quartet, since I abhor reading series books out of order.
I was hooked on The Rainaldi Quartet from the very first page. Paul Adam has built an intriguing cast of characters, from luthiers to violin collectors. Castiglione is a very endearing main character. While he isn’t perfect and has made mistakes in his past, he’s a genuinely good person who wants to help. When his close friend is murdered, Castiglione is at once devastated and enraged. He wants to discover who would do such a thing and is determined to get to the bottom of the mystery.
Though the mystery is certainly intriguing and moves forward at a brisk pace, it takes a backseat to the information about violins dispensed in the novel. That’s not to say anything bad about the mystery, but just that Adam worked the history of violins into the novel so well that it’s almost spellbinding. I was completely riveted, eager to drink up as much knowledge as I could, and there was a lot to be had. This book is a treasure trove of information about violins; I cannot say enough positive things about it.
The Rainaldi Quartet was a gripping mystery that I couldn’t put down. It’s not a long book, so if you pick it up, plan on reading it in one sitting – it’s just that good! I simply cannot wait to get to the next book in the series, Paganini’s Ghost, and I hope that these books continue into the foreseeable future, as this one was immensely enjoyable.