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Where's the plot?

  • Sep 17, 2012
I understand that the author is very famous for a series of books about a detective in Venice, but I have never read any of them. Knowing the name, however, I decided to take a chance on this book, understanding that it was a "stand alone"work, not related to her other writings. Having finished the book, I must confess to being disappointed.

The plot (if you can call it that) concerns the activity of a female expert in Baroque music given the task of opening two trunks sealed shut 300 years before. These trunks were the property of Agostino Steffani (who is an actual historical figure), and supposed relatives want the researcher to check everything in the trunks to see which side of the family (there are two claimants) may have inherited the contents, which they hope are valuable.

The rest of the book consists of the researcher's task, and the names of Baroque composers and their compositions are thrown around willy-nilly, and there are Italian phrases also included, with no information for the reader to understand them. In addition to the two rather disreputable claimants, there is a mysterious lawyer who may not be what he purports to be.

We get many instances of the characters eating and drinking, either in restaurants, or at home, which add nothing to the plot, except verbiage. In the end the "inheritance" is discovered, to the consternation of some of the characters, and the awe of others. That's it!

There doesn't seem to be much of a purpose to the story line of the book, except to set out the "value" of items in relation to their actual price, and whether this "value" is given to them by the belief in them by others. A pretty thin thread upon which to hang such a book.

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About the reviewer
Frank J. Konopka ()
Ranked #89
I'm a small town general practice attorney in the hard coal region of Pennsylvania. Books are my passion, andI read as many of them asI can. Being the President of the local library board for over … more
About this product


“Fascinating. … her first stand-alone … boasts the same sensitivity to human behavior that distinguishes her Guido Brunetti series.”—Bill Ott, Booklist

“A veteran mystery maven weaves present-day Venice into a 300-year-old puzzle in this engaging stand-alone. … [The Jewels of Paradise] packs the charms of Venice into a smart whodunit.”—Kirkus Reviews
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