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 room the day after the concert. In his wallet is a scrap of sheet music, torn from a page that belongs to the competition’s winner. But how did the dead man get hold of it? And why?
Detective Antonio Guastafeste asks violin maker Gianni Castiglione to help him navigate the curious world of classical musicians, their priceless instruments, and the unsavory dealers who prey upon them. Together, Antonio and Gianni must unravel another mystery that has gone unanswered for over a century, one that may hold the answer to the modern-day murder.
Filled with remarkable history and musical lore, Paganini’s Ghost plays at a breathtaking tempo that will keep you reading until the very last page.
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. Most were nothing out of the ordinary—a musician simply turning up at my workshop with a violin in a case—but one or two have been more remarkable.
There was the Guadagnini, discovered under a pile of wooden crates in a hayloft near Bergamo, that was delivered to me wrapped in newspaper and an old potato sack. Then there was the famous, but decidedly eccentric, international virtuoso, whom discretion forbids me from naming,