Cecily Gayford

Too much time in the library

Donna Leon’s The Jewels of Paradise (Heinemann, £17.99)has a promising premise. A young musicologist, Caterina Pelligroni, returns to Venice to trace a legacy left by the 17th-century composer Agostino Steffani, a slippery customer who mixed libretti with realpolitik in the courts of Europe. The bequest turns out to consist mainly of nasty secrets, which seem