THE VATICAN CAMEOS
by Richard T Ryan
When the papal apartments are burgled in 1901, Sherlock Holmes is summoned to Rome by Pope Leo XII. After learning from the pontiff that several priceless cameos that could prove compromising to the church, and perhaps determine the future of the newly unified Italy, have been stolen, Holmes is asked to recover them. In a parallel story, Michelangelo, the toast of Rome in 1501 after the unveiling of his Pieta, is commissioned by Pope Alexander VI, the last of the Borgia pontiffs, with creating the cameos that will bedevil Holmes and the papacy four centuries later. For fans of Conan Doyle’s immortal detective, the game is always afoot. However, the great detective has never encountered an adversary quite like the one with whom he crosses swords in “The Vatican Cameos.”.
The Vatican Cameos opens with a familiar feel for fans of Arthur Conan Doyle’s original Sherlock Holmes stories. The usual characters, style and deductions are with us from chapter one but this novel has parallel tales, one occurring 400 years before the other, and involving some of the early 16th century’s most notable figures. The plotting is clever, and the alternating stories well-told.
They are linked by the Vatican Cameos; carved portraits with religious significance crafted for the day’s Pope by Michelangelo, with the casings created by Leonardo Da Vinci. Holmes is summoned to the Vatican four centuries later after the cameos are stolen potentially compromising the Papacy.
The historical setting of Renaissance Italy is fuelled by interesting research on the politics and religious clashes of the time, with some powerful families and forces in conflict. The Sherlock thread equally satisfies with its bribery and the memorable, ruthless villain that's afoot.
There is some sex and an undercurrent of violence - as you might expect at a time of the Borgias where you need to pick a side - in this fulfilling thriller.
About Richard T Ryan:
A lifelong Sherlockian, Richard Ryan's The Vatican Cameos: A Sherlock Holmes Adventure was published Nov. 7 2016 by MX Publishing.
He is also the author of The Official Sherlock Holmes Trivia Book as well as a book on Agatha Christie trivia.
He is also currently working on his next Holmes adventure.
A graduate of the University of Notre Dame, where he majored in medieval literature, he is a die-hard fan of the Fighting Irish.
He has been happily married for 38 years and is the proud father of two children