The Jewels of Paradise-Donna Leon

The Jewels of Paradise

Donna Leon

Atlantic Monthly, Oct 2 2012, $25.00

ISBN 9780802120649


Opera expert Dr. Caterina Pellegrini has been an assistant professor at a Manchester, England conservatory for four years where she teaches music theory to the uninterested.  Though she hated the ugly city and her students, Caterina enjoyed her research into Baroque music. 


However, she accepts an assignment in her hometown Venice to catalogue the contents of three-century old trunks allegedly containing items owned by baroque composer Bishop Agostino Steffani and determine who the rightful owner is.  His descendants are vultures greedily competing for who owns and sells whatever is found.   


While Commissario Guido Brunetti takes a respite, Donna Leon introduces readers to another interesting Venusian Dr. Caterina Pellegrini who in her thirties struggles with what she wants out of life.  The storyline is filled with plenty of fascinating historical tidbits about Agostino Steffani and the Baroque music era that is fun to read but distracts from the ownership mystery.  Although there is too much late seventeenth century-early eighteenth century information and contains an improbable climax, The Jewels Of Paradise remains overall an intriguing thriller.


Harriet Klausner

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