Review of The Vatican Cameos: A Sherlock Holmes Adventure by Richard T. Ryan

Review of The Vatican Cameos: A Sherlock Holmes Adventure by Richard T. Ryan

See full issue for 2018 11-05

The Rundown

It’s 1901 and Sherlock Holmes has been commissioned by the Vatican to chase down a thief. But soon after arriving in Rome it becomes clear that the true mystery lies not in the theft, but the items that were stolen. The items in question are a series of intricate cameos, carved by Michelangelo himself, which put the darkest secrets of the papacy in full view.

The storyline skips seamlessly between Sherlock and Michelangelo, slowly unraveling the mystery as the truth is revealed. While Sherlock and Watson tirelessly try to decipher who is to be trusted, Michelangelo wrestles with a different kind of challenge: should he accept the most exciting and rewarding commission of his life, even if he is appalled by the subject matter?

The story gets graphic as the truth unravels, and Richard T. Ryan pulls no punches as he weaves a hedonistic tale into the history of an organization that is already rife with mystery. Readers with any attachment to the church, and those who prefer their fictional popes to remain clothed, should look elsewhere for literary entertainment.

The Vatican Cameos was wholly original in style and plot, and reminiscent of the DaVinci Code (although the characters drank far more tea). While I am neither a historian nor a reader of Sherlock Holmes novels, it seems as though Richard has researched both the historical and fictional aspects of his book to excruciating detail. For readers seeking tales of religious scantdal, the slow start is well worth the final reveal and the ultimate surprise ending.


The Recommendation

If you like the sound of Sherlock Holmes fan fiction with a dose of religious sex scandals set in the 1500’s, this is the book for you. Not for the faint of heart, The Vatican Cameos is a new take on an old trope. One part historic fiction, two parts mystery, pack this book for your trip to Italy, or perhaps for a lazy weekend at the beach.


The Rating Reviewer Rating: 4.5 Stars

4.5 Stars (out of 5): Highly recommended. This book is a great read. It can hold its own against any traditionally published novel in its genre, and surpasses many.

The Pros & Cons

Pros: Page Turner, Plot, Surprise Ending
Cons: Graphic Sex Scenes, Slow in Places

The Comparisons

For readers who liked these books and authors: Sherlock Holmes, The DaVinci Code

The Links

More about The Vatican Cameos: A Sherlock Holmes Adventure on UBR

The Reviewer

Amy R. Biddle

Visit Amy R. Biddle‘s website.