2010, 275 pages
Setting: Present day in Cremona, Italy
Gianni Castiglione lives in the town of Cremona in northern Italy and has been a violin maker and repairer for over half a century. He is a widower, and lives alone in a simple style. He has his work and good friends and enjoys his life.
A young violinist, Yevgeny Ivanov, asks Gianni to repair a special violin. It was Paganini’s famous violin, il Cannone (the Cannon). Gianni is able to repair it, and he befriends the lonely Yevgeny. He attends Yevgeny’s violin concert and is amazed at the man’s talent.
Gianni’s quiet life is disturbed when a Parisian art dealer is found murdered after the concert. A piece of music connects Yevgeny to the murder, then Yevgeny disappears, and Gianni is asked by Detective Antonio Guastafeste to help him solve the case. The case expands to include a rumor of a lost piece of music by Paganini and a mysterious box of gold with a carving of Moses on it.
This is an interesting mystery dealing with violin making and repair, priceless musical instruments, the dealers of these instruments, and stories of Paganini’s life. Gianni is a likable character who observes things that others miss, and he uses his knowledge of music and Paganini to unravel the mystery.
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