Book Review: Paul Adam, Paganini’s Violin

A French antique dealer is found dead from a blow to the head after attending a concert in the small North Italian town of Cremona. The head of the local police investigation has an old friend who is an elderly, widowed maker and repairer of violins and the policeman seeks his advice.  This leads to further deaths and the unravelling of a mystery which is as much about the fate of a valuable antique and of a lost piece of music as it is about the identity of the murderer.


It’s just brilliantly done. The violin man, who tells the story, is a finely drawn character down to his quiet pride in his little meals and his fear of his detective friend’s driving.  The description is good. I’m not familiar either with Northern Italy or with Paganini or (much) with Rossini, but the book seems like the fruit of much research or expert knowledge.


I strongly recommend this book.


NOT RECOMMENDED: I began at the same time THE CORRIGAN LEGACY by Anna Jacobs. It’s gawkily written (for example, she tells us far too much about the characters rather than letting us find out). One character, a man who has just split up with his wife, is portrayed so purely negatively that I felt there might be an agenda working. There are people that nasty, vindictive and mean, but a bit more shading in the portrayal would have been welcome. By 20% of the way through I’d so lost interest I just stopped.


My big question is: how did it get published?

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