Paganini's Ghost (Castiglione and Guastafeste, #2)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

Paganini's Ghost (Castiglione and Guastafeste #2)

3.78 of 5 stars 3.78  ·  rating details  ·  210 ratings  ·  63 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...more
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published January 5th 2010 by Minotaur Books
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
Bel Canto by Ann PatchettAmadeus by Peter ShafferDoctor Faustus by Thomas MannAn Equal Music by Vikram SethThe Kreutzer Sonata by Leo Tolstoy
Classical Music themes in Fiction
16th out of 82 books — 44 voters
Into the Killer Sphere by Stefania MattanaUnder the Tuscan Sun by Frances MayesRomeo and Juliet by William ShakespeareA Room with a View by E.M. ForsterEat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
Books with Italian location
109th out of 124 books — 78 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 321)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
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...more
Colin Birge
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...more
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...more
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
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
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...more
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...more
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
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
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.
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
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...more
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
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
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.
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
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
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.
Diane Ferbrache
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...more
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
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
Ken Brimhall
The book gave a lot of information about Paganini. The first person narrator, Gianni Castiglione, a 64-year-old luthier, provides insightful comments about life. I wasn't particularly moved by the story. The characters didn't develop. To solve the mysteries, Castiglione and Detective Guastafeste brought into the narrative a cast of characters, both historical and contemporary, that was hard to keep track of. It was enjoyable, however, and very well written. The author displayed a vast knowledge....more
An excellent follow-up to "The Rinaldi Quartet" and reacquaints us with police detective Antonio Gustafeste.
I found this book to be a crash course in violins, composers, historical figures, and beautiful things that by their beauty, brings out the worst in human nature.
The action moves from Cremona, to Genoa, to Paris, to England, and back again. And along the way, there is Paganini, Napoleon Bonaparte, his sister, Elise, and the rumors of a very small solid gold violin.
This is a wonderful contemporary mystery which is further enhanced by a wealth of historical information about the violin virtuoso Paganini and the craft of violin making. The mystery itself revolves around the murders of individuals seeking treasures from the past and the solving of these crimes by Gianni Castiglione, a 64 year old luthier (violin maker) living in Cremona. The author has created a great sense of place and some memorable characters. Highly recommended!
This was an interesting quick read about a violin maker who lives near Cremona and his friend who works on the police force. The crime involves a gold jeweled box that had a very small violin (also jeweled) in it. Also a missing score by Pagainni. Several murders and a disappearance later, the mystery is solved. Along the way there is a lot of good eating & drinking of Italian food and wine. I liked this OK, but sometimes got the Italian "bad guys" mixed up.
The follow-up to Adam's Rainaldi Quartet, Paganini's Ghost is a well-plotted, intriguing mystery set in Cremona, Italy with a luthier as its hero. Giovanni Castiglione is a likable and intelligent hero, and the musicological detail adds a richness to what could have been simply another mystery series set in Italy.

More Donna Leon than Michael Dibdin or Andrea Camillieri, Adam's series is an enjoyable addition to the genre.
Carolyn Crocker
Love, music, greed, and the powerful spirit of the past that alters the present through history and family lineage are threads in this mystery. They connect the genius of Paganini to Gianni Castiglione, a widowed violin-maker, along with a young Russian prodigy, an amateur cellist policeman, and international art thieves. Murder is nearly beside the point in this artful puzzle, set in Cremona, Italy.
This was a relaxing, enjoyable read, even if it was a murder mystery, because of the ingenious way the author wove into the plot elements of music/violin history and Italian culture. I enjoyed it more than Adam's earlier (related) novel, Rainaldi Quartet, perhaps because Italy was more central to the setting. I'd gladly read another novel if Adam continues to write in this vein.
Set in Cremona, Italy, a maker and repairer of violins gets inv olved in fine instruments and murder. He assists his buddy from the Italian police with the finer points of the case which involve composers and violin makers from the 18th century. His expertise aids his boon companion, but will his friend return the favor when one of the murderers attempts to kill him? A little slow...
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
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
More about Paul Adam...
Escape from Shadow Island (Max Cassidy, #1) The Rainaldi Quartet (Castiglione and Guastafeste, #1) The Unholy Trinity Jaws of Death (Max Cassidy, #2) Oracle Lake

Share This Book

“It had been many months since I'd shed tears for Tomaso, but grief is like that. It's not a continuous process; it comes in waves. You can keep it at bay for a time, like a dam holding back a lake, but them something triggers an explosion inside of you, shattering the wall and letting loose a flood.” 3 likes
More quotes…