A good detective story taking place in a beautiful part of Italy is a real treat for people who enjoy reading crime mysteries and also happen to love Italy. Use this website to find out more about the locations, the lifestyle and the food and the wine experienced by the characters created by your favourite authors.


The Jewels of Paradise – crime novel by Donna Leon

Featuring new character Caterina Pellegrini

Donna Leon captures the atmosphere of Venice in this novel, featuring a young musicologist as the main character, just as vividly as she does in her Brunetti series, making it a joy to read for anyone who loves the city.

The musicologist, Caterina Pellegrini, is a native Venetian who has been hired to find the rightful heirs to supposed treasure believed to have been hidden away by a once famous, now almost forgotten, Baroque composer.

Pleased to be back in Venice after working in Manchester, sworn to secrecy and working alone as she looks at papers found in two old trunks that once belonged to the composer, Caterina finds herself uncovering dark secrets from the past.

Her research leads her in the direction of a scandal that happened in the Baroque era that may have involved Agostino Steffani, a real-life 17th century composer.

The Biblioteca Marciana, opposite the Doge's Palace in the Piazzetta, off St Mark's Square in Venice
The Biblioteca Marciana, opposite the Doge's Palace in
the Piazzetta, off St Mark's Square in Venice
Donna Leon’s interest in Baroque opera inspired her to write this story, weaving fact with fiction as she takes an intrigue from the past and makes it the basis for two present-day avaricious Venetians thinking they are the heirs to Steffani’s legendary fortune.

As we read about Caterina doing her research at the Biblioteca Marciana (Marciana Library) in the Piazzetta and going for aperitivi and meals at bars and restaurants known only to the Venetians, we get a glimpse of the life Donna Leon herself enjoys in her beloved Venice.

The Jewels of Paradise is a fascinating mystery, full of historical details, that skilfully engages the reader.