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Paganini's Ghost (Castiglione and Guastafeste #2)

3.83  ·  Rating Details  ·  300 Ratings  ·  76 Reviews
Paganini – showman, womanizer, dazzling virtuoso – is one of the most charismatic characters in the history of classical music. His violin, il Cannone (the Cannon), is now kept in Genoa, Italy, where it is played only once every two years in a sold-out concert by the winner of an international competition.

This year, though, a Parisian art dealer is found dead in his hotel
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published January 5th 2010 by Minotaur Books (first published January 2010)
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Community Reviews

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Jeannie and Louis Rigod
Excellent writing, excellent story, and excellent research made for this book to be referred as "Superb" by Publishers Weekly and I completely agree with the sentiment.

Again, we have our crime fighting duo of friends, Gianni and Guastafeste in their second crime puzzle. Gianni, who is in fact, Dr. Giovanni Battista Castiglione, a violin maker of some repute is fond of his policeman friend, Guastefeste and they used to play quartets with their instruments.

The book opens with Dr. Gianni fixing one
Laurie Johnston
Jul 31, 2015 Laurie Johnston rated it really liked it
What better therapy can there be than a classical music mystery tale?

Cremona detective, Antonio Guastafeste, solves crimes with luthier, Giovanni Castiglione. They’re told from Giovanni’s point of view, and this one starts with a fabulous hook!

With nothing to do but watch and wait, Giovanni provides an eye-witness account as a six-car convoy including police, a young musician, his pushy mother and armed insurance body-guards arrive at his door with an old violin. Not just any violin, mind you! T
Colin Birge
Apr 26, 2010 Colin Birge rated it really liked it
The pleasure for me in mysteries these days, as often as not, is not the mystery itself but the setting, research and characters. Paul Adam's Paganini's Ghost succeeds admirably: a fast, charming read about music, history, and love.

Set mostly in northern Italy, the tale is from the point of view of Giovani Castiglione, an aging luthier and gentle widower whose primary interest is in the violins he builds and repairs. His detective friend Antonio Guastafeste is there to provide the requisite pol
First Sentence: Over the half a century that I have been working as a violin maker and repairer, I have had instruments brought to me in many different ways.

Luther (violin maker) Gianni Castiglione receives a rare opportunity. He is asked to repair Paganini’s famous violin, “The Cannon,” for that night’s concert by Yevgeny Ivanov, the winner of an international competition. The next day, a Parisian art dealer is found murdered. The only real clue is a corner torn from sheet music belonging to Ye
Jamie Barringer (Ravenmount)
I really enjoyed this book. It is in that lovely sub-category of mysteries that includes a bit of well-researched historical trivia as part of the plot, in this case a bit of biographical trivia about Paganini and his violin, il Cannone, along with stuff about violin-making and about Paganini's music. The characters are nicely crafted and the murder mystery blends well with the historical elements. I looked up some Paganini videos on youtube to listen to while reading, and it was especially fun ...more
Paul Goble
May 23, 2015 Paul Goble rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Violinists
I loved this book for the strong writing, the violin-related plot, the enriching approach to historical fiction, and the lack of superfluous offensive content. And, of course, I simply enjoyed reading it. This is one of the very few books that I might go back and read again.

Synopsis: A Cremonese luthier (Gianni Castiglione) helps his detective friend solve a murder which is mysteriously related to artifacts which he traces back to Paganini.

The plot is gentle, without much breathless mystery or a
Jul 05, 2014 Marisa rated it liked it
I'd say this book falls within 3 1/2 stars. I was very impressed with Adam's work. It was a believable, contemporary mystery that incorporated good characters, thorough background information, and a solid story line. I haven't read the first Castiglione and Guastafeste novel (although I'd like to), but I noticed this particular book was more about Castiglione than Guastafeste. This imbalance didn't bother me too much, mostly because I admire the narrator being an older man who's not a detective, ...more
Ooh, this was fun! Yes, it's a murder mystery. Set in Italy, our protagonist Gianni Castiglione is a luthier (violin maker) as well as a musician and a fount of historical knowledge about all things "violin." Our story begins with the city of Cremona all agog over the upcoming appearance at the concert hall by Russian prodigy Yevgeny Ivanov, who will also be playing "il Cannone" (the cannon) once owned and played by the brilliant violinist Nicolò Paganini. This instrument was made by Guarneri, a ...more
May 31, 2012 Michelle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
Gianni and Guastafeste come together to solve their second mystery when Gianni is brought Paganini’s violin to repair on short notice prior to a concert performance. He bonds with the young prodigy, Yevgeny, who is suffering under the thumb of a stage mother. Gianni delights in playing the violin to test it, and they greatly enjoy attending the concert. He invites Yevgeny to play with them and fill the empty space in their quartert. While severely outmatched by the young virtuoso, the group enjo ...more
Jan 17, 2011 Becca-Rawr rated it really liked it
Shelves: challenge-11
It's been a few months since I picked up "Paganini's Ghost" off the newly released shelf at my local Barnes & Noble. I was drawn to the cover, really, and the promise of a tie to classical music. I am a huge classical music fan, and the history that surrounds it. I was also intrigued to find that this novel was also a mystery, something that I felt made it a rare breed. So I bought it, brought it home, and sadly, let it sit...

I recently picked it up, hoping for a light read during a week I w
Jul 21, 2010 DROPPING OUT rated it really liked it
It is lovely to be able to say that Adam surpassed his initial effort, the Ranieri Quartet. Perhaps it is the case that I have become accustomed to his style, but I could not help but feel his characters were more alive (?), realistic (?), memorable (?)

But, and again I may be accused of being a niggler, but three questionable "facts" stood out.

How was the combination of the lock on the golden box set or determined before Paganini wrote the Moses Fantasy - many years after Rossini wrote his Moses
Sep 03, 2015 Brace1737 rated it really liked it
There are a lot of reasons to enjoy this book. Violin Maker Gianni Castiglione would rather repair violins than help his friend Detective Antonio Guastafeste solve murders and yet the two make a great team. The setting is Cremona, an hour or so outside of Milan, has a long history of violin makers. Add in a helicopter mother of a gifted young violin player, some greedy antiques dealers, tales of Paganini and his era and you have a very worthwhile read for a rainy Sunday afternoon.
Judi Moore
Jun 01, 2015 Judi Moore rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was completely hooked by Paul Adam’s first book featuring Gianni Castiglione ('The Rainaldi Quartet') and so was keen to read this when I heard about it. If you like classical music – particularly Italian, particularly for the violin – and are interested in the history of violins and how they are made you will find both these books very interesting. The setting is really quite unusual. In this second outing for Signor Castiglione a very fine historical mystery is explored, alongside the obliga ...more
May 19, 2010 Pat rated it really liked it
This is the first book that I have read in this series, though it is actually the second one in the series. Now I'll have to go back and rad the first because this is a very well-written book. The author succeeds at something that many authors, whether they are writing mysteries or not, never succeed at. He has an abundance of knowledge on everything from the making of concert-quality violins (especially by the old masters), the lives of young people who are groomed for and succeed at becoming v ...more
Jul 01, 2012 Babette rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery-suspense
A while ago I decided to read The Rainaldi Quartet by Paul Adam, which was on my mystery and suspense reading list. It was excellent and I was sad to reach the end. Recently, when searching for my next reading selection, I found Paganini's Ghost by the same author. Gianni Castiglione, the main character, is a luthier and amateur violin player. Both books have classical music at their center. Both are set in Cremona, a center for violin-making in Italy. These two books stand out among the numerou ...more
Apr 04, 2014 Nikki rated it it was amazing
Audio book.
Beautiful and engaging story, gently and intriguing, so much so that I found myself ‘googling’ Panganini’s jewelled violin. The historical content was fascinating and despite not being a classical music lover, I would have loved to have heard the music alongside the narrative. Narrated by Sean Barrett, as ever, is superb. He lives and breathes the characters.
Sep 16, 2015 Pat rated it it was amazing
Gianni Castiglione, the “best luthier in Cremona” and his friend and fellow musician, Antonio Guastafeste, a detective with the Cremona Police, embark on a multi-dimensional mystery. When an antiques dealer is found murdered following the violin recital of a celebrated Russian virtuoso, Antonio takes on the more hard-boiled aspects of the case. Meanwhile, mild-mannered Gianni follows a more instinctual path that leads him through the 19th Century lives of renown composers, Paganini and Rossini, ...more
Apr 23, 2014 Sandy rated it really liked it
I loved reading this book. I especially enjoyed all of the historical information and legend regarding Paganini and his contemporary musicians. The stories were fascinating and the mystery was clever and woven with historical supposition and present day action. I liked the characters very much.
This novel is a worthy sequel to The Rainaldi Quartet. If anything, it is more polished. It is another mystery to delight music lovers as it brims with anecdotes of famous musicians, in particular Paganini, the famous violonist who also composed music. I was thrilled to read about his famous violin, Il Cannone, as I saw it in Genoa 2 weeks ago. It also happens that I visited Stresa on this trip, as well as Milan, and if that isn't enough of a coincidence, the Moses Fantasy was playing on the rad ...more
May 18, 2012 Jennifer rated it liked it
I'm loving this new (to me) genre--the musician/detective murder mystery! The first book I read like this was Gerald Elias' book, Devil's Trill, starring the blind violinist/detective Daniel Jacobus.

Paganini's Ghost is the second book by Paul Adam featuring luthier/detective Gianni Castiglione, a much gentler character than the acerbic Jacobus. I am now going to start the 1st book!

Both Adam and Elias have created compelling stories and characters, and their books are full of interesting musical
Jun 27, 2011 Elizabeth rated it really liked it
Shelves: mysteries, italy
A twenty-first century young virtuoso violinist has won the select Paganini Prize and with it the chance to play Paganini's special Guarneri violin called il Cannone the Cannon for it's booming sound. Because it has developed a small crack it comes by cavalcade to Gianni Castiglione to be fixed. This is only part of the story. Gianni's knowledge of the world of music involves him once again in an intriguing murder mystery. Despite the fact much of the mystery could not be solved with out knowled ...more
Apr 04, 2010 Mary rated it really liked it
What a great find! I picked this up at the library just on a whim. It is the second in a series (I hope there will be more) featuring a widowed luthier in modern day Italy. Gianni lives a quiet life, making and repairing violins for musicians and for dealers. He does play the violin himself, and has a friend who is a policeman. Through this friendship and his intricate knowledge of violins, he is called upon to assist the police in their investigation when a priceless instrument might be a motiv ...more
Jul 11, 2014 KiplingKat rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
Not quite as engaging as the first, but still a very enjoyable read. This takes luthier Gianni Castiglione into the world of the famous player and composer and a lost piece of music not heard for centuries.
Feb 02, 2010 Susan rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery-europe
Cremona luthier Gianni Castiglione is called upon to make emergency repairs to a valuable antique violin, and also befriends young violinist Yevgeny Ivanov. Gianni's friend, police detective Guastafeste calls upon his musical knowledge when an antique dealer is found dead, and between his two friends Gianni finds himself unraveling a series of historical mysteries involving the lives of violinist Paganini and composer Rossini, while coming closer than he would like to several more newly murdered ...more
Martin Mulcahey
Mar 17, 2012 Martin Mulcahey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very entertaining read, offering great scenery (Italy, France, England), atmosphere, likeable characters, believable plot, and brought musical history to life. The subject matter of a charismatic Paganini aids greatly (his life story affords frequent trips back in time for the book), with the musical & violin history imparted pulling the entire story together. Foodies should enjoy the main character's frequent lunch and dinner interludes as well. There are reference's to Paul's first book (T ...more
Mar 31, 2014 Lisa rated it liked it
Definitely closer to a four than a three but it had a couple of little issues that kept it from being a four. Still, I enjoyed it and look forward to reading more in the series.
Aug 12, 2015 Jp rated it it was amazing
I loved the wonderful combination of history and mystery. The characters were compelling and it was a both substantive and easy to move through. Loved it.
Diane Ferbrache
Jun 10, 2013 Diane Ferbrache rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery, italy, murder, music
Violin maker, Gianni Castiglione, is asked to make a minor repair to a violin once owned by Paganini. When the young Russian violinist disappears and a French art dealer is murdered, Castiglione and his detective friend, Antonio Guastafeste, find themselves in the middle of a mystery.

This is a brief novel (only 274 pages) filled with musical and art history. The action is swift and sometimes surprising with the added bonus of learning something of Paganini and his contemporaries and violin maki
Feb 21, 2013 Jerilyn rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
This was great fun. As the main character, Gianni, says at one point, there are many wonderful peripheral people surrounding every great and famous one. As he and his investigator-friend puzzle out a murder mystery, they share much of these peripheral lives with the lucky reader. Paganini, Rossini, Napoleon, we know those fellows of course. But what about their wives, sisters, lovers, children, etc.? And of course, the setting in Cremona, with sidetrips to other ITalian towns and cities, and eve ...more
Jul 06, 2014 Joseph rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
An interesting and fun read, especially for fans of the violin virtuoso. The book provides good historical commentary about Paganini and those who created the instruments of his day (Luthiers or violin makers). The book encompasses the life of a young Russian virtuoso who is an accomplished master of the violin, yet somewhat paradoxically, unhappy in the social confinement that is the cost of fame. But, this is not the essence of the story - it is the intrigue surrounding Detective Antonio Guast ...more
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Librarian's Note: There is more than one author with this name on Goodreads database.

Paul Adam has written eleven critically-acclaimed thrillers for adults. His books have sold widely around the world and have been translated into several foreign languages.

He is also the author of the Max Cassidy Series of thrillers for children.

Paul Adam has also written television and film scripts. He lives in
More about Paul Adam...

Other Books in the Series

Castiglione and Guastafeste (2 books)
  • The Rainaldi Quartet (Castiglione and Guastafeste, #1)

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