#BookReview
The Vatican Cameos – Richard T. Ryan

Pope Leo is robbed of the Vatican cameos, Papal secret miniatures, created by Michelangelo. Only one man is capable of retrieving them: Sherlock Holmes

Introduction

A Sherlock Holmes Adventure

The year is 1901, the place is Rome. Pope Leo has a problem that could bring shame upon the Catholic Church. Seven cameos, created by Michelangelo in deepest secret, have been stolen from the papal apartments. No one is supposed to have known of the existence of these cameos because their existence is a secret passed down to each Pope. To what purpose has the thief taken the cameos? Time for the Pope to call in the great detective Sherlock Holmes and his sidekick Dr Watson.

Storyline

Pope Leo is in despair as he can imagine the shame exposing the secret cameos will bring to the Catholic Church. Michaelangelo’s cameos have that capability (how and why we do not know) and the Pope fears that they will be used to the detriment of the Church in some way. Whatever the outcome, it will not be good and that is why the Pope knows there is only one man he can trust to solve this delicate case: Sherlock Holmes. When you ask Sherlock Holmes to investigate, of course, Doctor Watson comes along and the both of them travel to Rome. Holmes soon figures out that this is no ordinary thief as the Vatican cameos were so secret, that nobody but the Pope knows of their existence. He knows there must have been inside help but, before he can go any further with his investigation, a blackmail letter is delivered to the pope and thus, in the words of Sherlock Holmes, a “burglary has just become a case of blackmail.”

To learn more about the Vatican cameos and its creator, we have to go back 400 years to the year 1501. That is when Pope Alexander, who had “bribed his way to the papacy” according to Michelangelo, reigns. And now he has called for Michaelangelo. The latter knows he has to tread carefully because the Pope is renowned for punishing those he thinks are his foes and whereas the Pope’s daughter Lucrezia is very charming, her brother Cesare has an extremely suspicious mind. What makes matters worse is that Cardinal della Rovere, the Pope to be in his own eyes, wants Michaelangelo to keep him informed. The commission to make the 7 cameos is secret and dubious given their content. Follow this story entwining the fascinating developments and Michaelangelo’s ingenious creation of the seven cameos in 1501, and the adventures of Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson in 1901 Rome on their (also) secret mission for another Pope.

My Thoughts

As a huge detective fan addicted to Dame Agatha Christie’s and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s creations, it was only a matter of time before I would feel compelled to read and review Richard Ryan’s The Vatican Cameos. Love it! The combination of Michelangelo’s (1501) and Sherlock Holmes (1901) era, the facts of history interwoven into the plot making it plausible to imagine Pope Alexander having requested Michaelangelo due to his famous interests in the arts. This Pope also restored the Castell Sant’ Angelo, which features in this book. The literary mystery novel is excellently written and the entwining of Michelangelo’s struggle to stay alive in the chess game between Pope Alexander and Cardinal della Rovere, as well as Holmes’s investigations which have to be kept secret to avoid embarrassment for Pope Leo is very cunningly crafted. The writing style is entertaining and a pleasure to read. A must-read for all fans of Sherlock Holmes!

About the Author

Richard T. Ryan Author Image

Author Richard Ryan has always been a reader – Tom Swift, the Hardy Boys and John Dickson Carr, Agatha Christie, J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis. His love for reading is why he majored in English. As a lifelong Sherlockian, Richard Ryan is the author of “The Official Sherlock Holmes Trivia Book” as well as a book on Agatha Christie trivia. “The Vatican Cameos: A Sherlock Holmes Adventure,” is his first novel, published by MX Publishing, London. He is also currently working on his next Holmes adventure. The author is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame, where he majored in Medieval Literature. He has been happily married for 38 years and is the proud father of two children.

Book Info

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 Paperback   324 pages
 Publisher   MX Publishing (7 Nov. 2016)
 Language   English
 ISBN-10   1780929897
 ISBN-13  978-1780929897

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