Friday, November 23, 2012

The Jewels of Paradise

Inheritance. I opened Donna Leon’s novel, The Jewels of Paradise, knowing that it was a departure from her popular series of mystery novels featuring Commissario Guido Brunetti. I eagerly anticipated savoring any new area of interest for this writer whose work I have enjoyed. Set in Venice, Leon presents a female protagonist, Caterina Pellegrini, who has returned to her hometown with a doctorate in baroque opera to research the contents of two trunks containing the possessions of a cleric and composer dead for three centuries. Two cousins want to confirm their rights to inherit these contents which according to family lore contain treasure. For the first hundred pages, I tried to enjoy the exposition, but found it plodding and boring. After the halfway point, I rushed ahead to finish, never feeling satisfied with characters or plot. Readers who love Venice may find some passages delightful. Fans of the Brunetti series need to be able to set that pleasure aside and be open to a new style in this novel. For me, Leon squandered her Brunetti inheritance on this novel. Rating: Two-star (Mildly Recommended) Click here to purchase The Jewels of Paradise from

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