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The Rainaldi Quartet

(Castiglione and Guastafeste #1)

3.77  ·  Rating details ·  394 ratings  ·  79 reviews
Who would want to kill Tomaso Rainaldi, an elderly, unassuming violin-maker in the quiet Italian city of Cremona? For his friend and fellow violin-maker Gianni Castiglione, the murder is as mysterious as it is shocking. Rainaldi had few possessions, no enemies and little money. No one – least of all the police – can fathom a motive for murdering him. All he really had was ...more
ebook, 320 pages
Published February 21st 2006 by Minotaur Books (first published October 21st 2004)
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Average rating 3.77  · 
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Mar 27, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries
This is a nice book. But not a good one.

I think what irritated me is that the Italian characters didn't ring true. They didn't act Italian if that makes sense. My husband is Italian and I lived in Northern Italy for several years and the dialogue and character attitudes did not ring true. Also, the way the story ended, all neat and pat was a. not something you'd find in an Italian mystery and again, too neat and pat for my taste.

The ending was too quick and too expected. If you like really sweet
Feb 05, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
Well written, interesting plot and satisfying ending. The history of violins which includes the making of them, the buying and selling of them and the love of them is fascinating.

First Sentence: You expect the momentous moments in your life to provide some kind of warning.

Luther (violin-maker) Giovanni "Gianni" Castiglioni and policeman, Guastafeste, never expect one of their monthly informal string quartet gatherings to turn into a hunt for a murderer. Yet Guastafeste and Gianni find their friend Rainaldi murdered in this studio. His widow tells them he was searching for The Messiah's Sister, the twin to a perfect, unplayed, priceless violin made by
Colin Birge
For me, this is one of the rare instances where the sequel was better than the original. The Rainaldi Quartet is the first book in a mystery series by Paul Adam, designed around the world of classical music and historic violins. Yes, obligatory murders happen, but the real interest of the book is the search for a historically important, perfectly made violin from the late 1700s.

I'd already read the book's sequel, Paganini's Ghost, and I find I prefer the sequel to the original. The Rainaldi
Jul 23, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The story begins as four men in Italy meet as they have many times before to play music as a string quartet. One is a priest, 2 make violins and one is a detective. When one of the violin makers is murdered in his shop, the detective (Antonio) seeks the aid of the other violin maker (Gianni) to help determine if anything has been stolen from his shop. They discover that the murdered man had been in search of an undiscovered Stradavarius called the "Messiah's Sister". We follow along as they ...more
Jan 10, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, mystery, music
The Rainaldi Quartet begins with the murder of an elderly violin-maker and progresses throughout Europe as the violin-maker’s friends attempt to discover who did the deed and why. It also revolves around a valuable Stradivarius that has been missing for many years.

This is a very quick read, but fun to the end. I would recommend this for people who are interested in instruments or mysteries, and especially for those who are fascinated by both.
Aug 10, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
For this genre (murder mysteries), as good as it gets. This is the 1st of the 2 novels featuring luthier Gianni Castiglione and his policeman friend Antonio Guastafeste, in Cremona Italy. I had serendipitously come across the second book, Paganini's Ghost, read it, and loved it. Of course I had to find a copy of this and read it as well. Here, Castiglione's friend Tomaso Rainaldi is murdered as he apparently nears the end of a quest to find "Messiah's Sister," the mythical violin crafted by the ...more
Oct 20, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Tamoso Rainaldi plays in an amateur quartet with violin-maker Ganni Castiglione and policeman Antonio Gastefeste. When Rainaldi is murdered, the pair discover that he was on a quest for a matchless violin. In spite of the contrived plot, the setting in northern Italy is delightful and the book contains a lot of interesting violin history. Very off-putting is the dubious assumption made by all the characters throughout the story that a violin that has never been played is more desirable than one ...more
May 04, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well researched world of violins. Unfortunately characters do not behave and do not have Italian temperament at all. Magda speaks Hungarian which is not Slavic language (only one similar to it is Finish) so she will not sound East European at all. Author as a man of letters should research his languages better. After all guilt for selling a fake to crazy collector our Gianni does the same thing again - all for the good cause of course but do you feel Signor Machiavelli's ghost there?
All this
Jun 18, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I mostly read this for the violin history and it did not disappoint at all on that measure. Sometimes a bit far-fetched and I wish the author hadn't felt he HAD to introduce a romantic interest almost immediately. The murder mystery wasn't particularly engrossing but an enjoyable, descriptive light read with mostly good characterizations; I could see myself giving another of the series a look as a summer book.
Apr 12, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not quite as "atmospheric" as I'd hoped it would be. It's cool learning about the violin-making centers of Italy and the luthier culture. There's a lot to like here, though the authors descriptions leave me wanting more when compared to some other fiction I've read that is closely tied to a period or a location.
Well written and entertaining read. Appreciated the details on luthier trade and the mystery, while entertainingly silly at times, was written in such a way that all the pieces didn’t come together until the end.
Tom Kopff
An entertaining mystery that is mostly focused on the hunt for a fabled violin that may or may not actually exist, you'll learn more about the world of luthiers and rare violins than you ever expected. The "whodunit" side of the mystery takes second place, and that's fine.
Nov 23, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Nov 23, 2017
Susan Katz
Nov 09, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: murder-mystery
Really interesting story and terrific character development. The end was a bit confusing, but still mostly satisfying.
Sep 15, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mystery set in Cremona, Italy...violin maker is murdered in his workshop. I learned a great deal about valuable violins and how they are valued.
Jo Trelfa
Sep 18, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not bad, not read any from this author before.
Dec 29, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A lot more compelling than its subject matter suggests. Ended a little clunky, but I’m one who would rather have a great body with a poor conclusion than vice versa. But all in all worth the read.
Jeannie and Louis Rigod
The reader is introduced to a pleasant man in his early 60's. This man is Gianni Castiglione, a luthier (violin maker,) living in Cremona, Italy. He is a widow that loves his work and once a week, joining with three others to play quartets of the classics, such as Brahms etc.

Joining him is a Priest, a Policeman, and another Luthier, Tomaso. After an enjoyable evening, the policeman, Guastafeste and Gianni share a glass of whiskey and chat. The telephone is the wife of fellow luthier,
The first of two books featuring luthier Gianni Castiglione and Detective Antonio Guastafeste, The Rainaldi Quartet is part murder mystery, part historical fiction mostly set in modern day Cremona, Italy. The quartet of the title includes Gianni, Antonio, Tomaso Rainaldi and Father Arrighi who gather periodically to play for their own enjoyment. Tomaso, also a luthier, is found dead in his workshop after such a musical gathering. Gianni and Antonio soon join forces to solve the murder of their ...more
Jul 29, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Rinaldi Quartet by Paul Adam is a book that I suggested for the mystery F2F group that I attend, and they selected it. I was pleased because it sounded unusual. The central character who investigates the case is luthier Gianni Castiligione. Luthiers make stringed instruments.

Although the mystery aspect is about the case of the murdered luthier, Tomasso Rinaldi, it also deals with a quest for a legendary violin.

I really liked the perspective. We get to see into Gianni Castilliogne's mind.
I was introduced to this series courtesy of this year's Malice Domestic conference. Set in quiet Cremona, Italy, the story centers around the murder of an aging luthier, Tomaso Rainaldi, and a mysterious violin known as the "Messiah's Sister" rumored to have been missing for centuries, if it even existed in the first place. Two members of Rainaldi's quartet -- a fellow aging luthier named Gianni Castiglione and a police officer name Antonio Guastafeste -- set out to determine who murdered their ...more
Norma Huss
Apr 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Can I give this six stars? This historic mystery is so much more!

Gianni, the older man who tells the story, is part of the Rainaldi Quartet---four men who meet to play stringed instruments of an evening. When one member is killed, Gianni, together with the younger member, the chief of police, follow clues and hopes of clues to England and various places within Italy.

That isn't the whole of the story. There's Gianni's reactions to death, the changing vistas of Venice, and meeting a woman after
Jean Hontz
May 22, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Admittedly, I have a thing about the forging, stealing, creating, or collecting of works of art. You have only to look at my TBR Challenge to figure this out. ;) This time out, it's all about the violins.

Gianni is a luthier from Cremona. When a close friend of his, another luthier, is killed, he teams up with another close friend, who is the local detective, to find out just why he died and who dunnit.

I confess to knowing essentially nothing, not a damn thing, about violins, well, other than
May 06, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone
I guess that when I logged this book I did not have a chance to write anything about it. Good mystery, good writing, full of arcane and detailed information about violins. (Yes, the musical instruments not a physical manifestation of man's inhumanity to man, as Rosanna Rosanna Danna might misconstrue.)

I actually worked with a gent who was a long-removed descendant/relative of the other, if possible, even more exclusive violin maker. One of the thrills of his life was getting the chance to touch
Mar 30, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the 2nd book (though the 1st in it's series)that I've read by Paul Adam and totally enjoyed! The main character in this contemporary mystery/thriller is Gianni Castiglione, a luthier in Cremona, Italy (home to some of the best violin makers in history). One of Gianni's fellow informal quartet members is murdered and the reason seems to involve the quest for a priceless violin made by Stradivari. Gianni and his friend, a police detective want answers. I loved the Italian setting and the ...more
Jul 08, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I found this to be a thoroughly enjoyable mystery. Adams knows his music history well, and constructing a plot around arcane facts pertaining to the craft of making violins in the 17th and 18th century is ingenious. So why four stars? The author is clearly British, so his use of British slang is understandable (for example, a messy apartment is described as a "tip," and one character says to another, "Have a go..."), but I did not "sense" the character were Italian or that he captured any sense ...more
Dec 30, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Although I have horrid memories of violin lessons as a child, this novel set in Cremona, Italy caught my attention early. When a sixty-ish violin maker and repair artist, who also plays in a local chamber music group made up of himself, a priest, the local police chief and a fellow luthier, gets involved in unmasking the murderer of an old friend, he stumbles upon the story of a priceless, centuries old violin called "the Messiah's Sister." The police chief depends upon our hero to explain ...more
Aug 21, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fascinating glimpse into the world of violin making and violin collecting. Wonderfully atmospheric, with intriguing and unusual characters and detailed, evocative descriptions of the various settings. I can't say that I came away with a love of violins, but I begin to understand their appeal to others. In terms of the mystery, it was obvious from the moment he was introduced who the villain in the piece would be. The real mystery was the location -- or even existence -- of the violin. Frankly, I ...more
Judi Moore
Aug 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you enjoy classical music, play a violin (or any of its relatives), respect beautiful things made by hand, or love an historical mystery you will enjoy this 'history and mystery'. I learned much about the world's famous old violins while I was being entertained with a beautifully paced quest for one of them.

I know only too well how hard it is to convey music and musical instruments in words (I review regularly for a local music club); Paul Adam does it as well as it can be done. The only way
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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

Other books in the series

Castiglione and Guastafeste (2 books)
  • Paganini's Ghost (Castiglione and Guastafeste, #2)