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Friday, August 17, 2012

Sherlock Holmes Goes to Rome

One of Dr. Watson's greatest legacies is his wonderful pantheon of unwritten Sherlock Holmes stories that have intrigued readers -- and pastiche writers -- almost from the very beginning.

Because of my own theological bent, I have long been interested in "the sudden death of Cardinal Tosca -- an inquiry which was carried out by him [Holmes] at the express desire of His Holiness the Pope" (BLAC) and the case of the Vatican cameos (HOUN).

Many writers have offered their own versions of these tales. I myself have written "The Adventure of the Vatican Cameos," a present-day mystery solved by Lynda Teal on her honeymoon. It will be published in a forthcoming book.

Ann Margaret Lewis had the brilliant idea of putting these two Holmes adventures together with "The Two Coptic Patriarchs" (RETI) in a book called Murder in the Vatican: The Church Mysteries of Sherlock Holmes.

The resulting volume is an excellent trio of mysteries, reflecting a deep knowledge of the source material and written with a convincingly Watsonion touch. And without quite stealing the show, Pope Leo XIII comes across as a well-drawn and delightful character. In "The Vatican Cameos" he even stands in for Watson to tell the tale! Another famous detective makes, let us say, a cameo appearance as well.

The author told me that she may write some stories with Pope Leo solving mysteries in and around the Vatican. Amen to that idea!

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