The Vatican Cameos: A Sherlock Holmes Adventure

November 7, 2016
Votes: 19
Audience Adult
Word Count 60-80k (average/short)

Editing, Production, Marketing & Sales

Edited by Steve Emecz
Cover design by Brian Belanger
Published Through MX Publishing
Scheduled for Review on November 5, 2018

Author’s Summary

Long one of the Vatican’s most closely guarded secrets, it has recently come to light that in the fall of 1901, the papal apartments were burglarized and several valuable cameos stolen. Summoned to Rome by Pope Leo XIII, Sherlock Holmes is tasked by the pontiff with recovering the missing artifacts. As they track their quarry, Holmes and Watson find themselves thrust into the maelstrom of Italian politics of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Eventually, Holmes learns from a rather reticent pope that the stolen cameos could prove extremely embarrassing to the Catholic Church, as they vividly depict an event in church history the Vatican has long tried to conceal. When the pontiff receives a letter suggesting that the cameos will be returned if the pope agrees to subjugate the papacy to the temporal rule of the newly unified Italian government, Sherlock Holmes appears to be his only chance at salvation.

Holmes must match wits with a master of realpolitik who is determined to make the Vatican renounce its independence. Racing across Rome from St. Peter’s Basilica to the Trevi Fountain to the Capuchin Crypt, Holmes and Watson must circumvent the blackmailer, whom the detective describes as a “worthy acolyte of the late, unlamented Prof. Moriarty.”

In a parallel plot set in Renaissance Italy and told in alternating chapters, a young Michelangelo, who is the current toast of Rome because of his Pieta, is commissioned by Pope Alexander VI, the last of the pontiffs to bear the Borgia name, to create the cameos that will come to bedevil the papacy 400 years later.

Pulled in different directions by rival members of the Curia, each of whom is pursuing his own agenda, Michelangelo is forced to fashion the cameos in secret while attempting to secure his own safety against a group of vindictive cardinals for many of whom, mercy is a weakness rather than a virtue.

For help in fashioning the cameos, Michelangelo secure the aid of an old adversary, all the while trying to avoid the romantic entrapments of Lucrezia Borgia and the murderous intents of her overly protective brother, Cesare.

Short Description

A Sherlock Holmes adventure that finds the great detective trying to solve a mystery created by Michelangelo, 400 years earlier.


Sherlock Holmes tries to solve a centuries-old mystery.

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Awards and Notable Endorsements

The Vatican Cameos

Novel of the year

– posted by Sally Sugarman    

"The Vatican Cameos" was selected as the Book of the Week on Dec. 25, 2016.

– posted by richryan    

Community Endorsements

The Vatican Cameos

Excellent read, nice change

– posted by sully125    

"An extravagantly imagined and beautifully written Holmes story” -- Lee Child, NY Bestselling Author of the 'Reacher' series

– posted by richryan    
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