Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Murder in the Vatican: Review

In Murder in the Vatican: The Church Mysteries of Sherlock Holmes, Ann Margaret Lewis successfully brings us three tales that John Watson mentions in his stories but never gave readers the details. The Giant Rat of Sumatra has often been the subject of authorial speculation, but this the first time I have found renditions of "the sudden death of Cardinal Tosca," "the Vatican cameos," and "the two Coptic Patriarchs." Lewis handles the well-known characters of Homes and Watson with great care and attention to the ways and writings of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. And in the second story (cameos), she turns the narration over to Pope Leo XIII and manages a charming narrative that remains true to the spirit of Holmes. 

Unlike many Americans who have written Holmes pastiches, Lewis makes us believe that these really could be stories penned by Dr. Watson and discovered in that battered dispatch box. The details are vivid and the tales feel authentic. She also manages to work theological explanations into the narrative without making readers feel as though they have sat through a religious lecture. Full marks for Holmesian atmosphere as well as pretty little puzzles for the master detective to unravel. Holmes is given full scope to exhibit his famous observational powers and deductive reasoning. An added bonus is his interactions with a certain soon-to-be Father Brown and the period-style pen and ink illustrations. Four stars.

4 comments:

Bev Hankins said...

Freda: Another that your hubby would probably like...and you won't. :-)

fredamans said...

That's too funny, I was just going to comment it was another one to tell the hubby about. ;-) Still I appreciate your great review as always.

bloodymurder said...

Wow, this sounds great = thanks Bev, I might otherwise have stayed away from this pastiche frankly but I'm really glad to hear this works so well.

Bev Hankins said...

You're welcome, Sergio. If you get hold of it, I hope you enjoy it as much as I've advertised.