Agostino began as a choir, concert, opera soprano
The Jewels of Paradise acquaints essayist, historian, and novelist Donna Leon’s readers with the biography and compositions of seventeenth and eighteenth-century diplomat, ecclesiastic, and musician Agostino Steffani (July 25, 1654 – February 12, 1728) in Baroque Germany and Italy.
The mystery begins with Venetian native Caterina Pellegrini's assistant professorship and research fellowship at the University of Manchester in England. Cati concludes that she needs to resign from her four-year positions at the world-respected center on Baroque music studies and reinsert herself elsewhere, in continental Europe's job market. She decides to examine the unknown contents of two unopened trunks to ascertain the disposition of riches between two claimants, a tax evader and a usurious moneylender.
The duo emerge as the only known descendants of Agostino’s cousinly heirs, archpriest Antonio Scapinelli and Giacomo Antonio Stievani.