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Publisher's Summary

When the papal apartments are burgled in 1901, Sherlock Holmes is summoned to Rome by Pope Leo XII. After learning from the pontiff that several priceless cameos that could prove compromising to the church, and perhaps determine the future of the newly unified Italy, have been stolen, Holmes is asked to recover them.

In a parallel story, Michelangelo, the toast of Rome in 1501 after the unveiling of his Pieta, is commissioned by Pope Alexander VI, the last of the Borgia pontiffs, with creating the cameos that will bedevil Holmes and the papacy four centuries later.

For fans of Conan Doyle's immortal detective, the game is always afoot. However, the great detective has never encountered an adversary quite like the one with whom he crosses swords in The Vatican Cameos.

©2016 Richard Ryan (P)2016 MX Publishing

What listeners say about The Vatican Cameos

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

A Difficult to Listen to Yet Intriguing Story

This pastiche employs a variation of a technique Conan Doyle used in his long form books such as "The Valley of Fear" and "A Study in Scarlet," both of which include long stories that lay the foundation for the present day adventure. The main difference being that Richard Ryan's work flashes back almost every other chapter, rather than in the one single long account format that Doyle employed.

The story itself is fascinating, profane, unnerving and unlike any Sherlock Holmes story that came before. There are parts that are not suitable for children, which is sad because, as a child I delighted to read the original stories. I don't know enough about the history of the Roman Catholic Church to say those parts of the story which take place during the early 1500's have any foundation in truth. If I was a Catholic I would be offended by certain parts of the book, unless they are based in fact.

My final comment us about the narrator. Nigel Peever is very talented, especially when reading Always on or any number of Italian parts, but his portrayal of Holmes is unnerving. From the moment he first spoke I thought Count Dracula was speaking. Almost every reader of Holmes I've heard tends to give him a clipped, slightly high-pitched tone to his voice. This portrayal is so far from that I found myself still unsettled by it at the end.

Despite all the moments that gave me pause, the mystery is solid, the flashbacks which include some fascinating historical features, and a very genuine and sympathetic Pope Leo, do make this book worth listening to, but only if one is an adult.

3 people found this helpful

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Sherlock Holmes and the Vatican cameos

Hey truly enjoyable story and exceptional narration which kept my interest all the way through. I hope Mandy take advantage of Mr. Ryan‘s Holmes and Watson‘s adventure. Extraordinary does Not do this piece justice.

2 people found this helpful

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Excellent tale of "what if"

I Loved this story! Highly recommend it! The author does well with fictional History! Bravo!

2 people found this helpful

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Doesn’t come close to the original

As an avid Sherlockian follower, I’ve read and listened to the original Doyle’s dozens of times and this doesn’t really come close or do justice to Holmes or Watson. The story reminded me more of a dusty Dan Brown mystery than a Holmes story with all the back and forth every other chapter. Also, the author had Holmes give away all his secrets almost immediately taking much of the fun the originals provide away. Also, it there really isn’t this level of graphic sexual deviancy in the originals and it also takes away from the overall joy of a good Holmes adventure. They narrator also could use some work, I’m not sure what was worse, the bad Italian accents or making Holmes sound like he’s a bulldog with slobbery jowls whenever he speaks. All in all about 8 hours of my life I won’t get back, listen to the whole thing waiting for it to get better and it never did.

3 people found this helpful

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Wow! Sherlock returns!

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Absolutely! I've read a lot of Sherlock Holmes and this book was true to Arthur Conan Doyle's style. The story was interesting in that it told two related stories alternating between them with each new chapter. Either story could stand on its own to keep you guessing their outcome. Together they made a robust and complex Sherlock Holmes mystery. The only thing that exceeded the quality of the story was the superiority of the narration. In all the audio books I've listened to, no narration was even close to the variety of voices, use of sound effects and overall production quality. This is truly the best audio book I've downloaded, and there have been many amazing ones I've downloaded..

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Vatican Cameos?

Every time another character would show up and add to the complex obstacle course the artist had to traverse.

Which scene was your favorite?

When Michelangelo attended the ball.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes.

Any additional comments?

I would just say if you enjoy the creative mind of Sherlock Holmes you'll certainly enjoy this audio book.

3 people found this helpful

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Excellent entertainment

Honored to be the first to review! Magnificently written. Beautifully narrated.
Must add for your library!

2 people found this helpful

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Niche, but my niche

This is a very niche story that combines several subjects of relatively narrow interest. Michelangelo, Renaissance politics, the Borgia family, post-unification Italian politics . . . I don't know how much someone who doesn't already care about those things will care about this book. As someone with a deep interest in the Italian Renaissance, though, this really hit the spot for me. I tend to nitpick stories inspired by historical figures and events I care about but found nothing of significance to criticize here. I think the figures of Michelangelo, Pope Alexander, his children, and Pope Julius were all represented in a manner justifiable according to existing records.

This was a very lovingly researched book, written by someone who was very passionate about the subject. That comes through not only in the characterization of the principle players but also in the descriptions of the art and architecture, and the methods of crafting them.

For me, the Holmes element was enjoyable but of secondary interest. I don't know if I'd properly call it a mystery (more of a non-violent thriller or espionage story) but it was suitably entertaining and was an effective means of making the 1501 story relevant to the "present day" narrative.

My only significant complaint is the narrator. I strongly disagree with his choices, particularly the voice he uses for Holmes. I saw a reviewer on a different Holmes book by the same author and narrator say that Peever's Holmes voice felt more appropriate for Count Dracula and I have to second that sentiment.

I don't know how much appeal this story will have for someone coming into it cold, but if you read the description and thought it sounded interesting, I expect you'll enjoy it.

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Loved it!

loved it. The narration was wonderful, characters colourful and the storyline engaging. Can't wait to start listening to the next book.

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Beware of the sexual content.

Will be exchanging it. Overall story no bad but was disappointed in the narration. Also heads up there is some sexual content I was not expecting.

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Conan Doyle would appreciate this

Vatican Cameos.
Sherlock Holmes in Rome, who would have thought of this. But it works!
Entertaining and so engaging time passes so quickly.
This is the best Holmes story I've read in a long time. As good as Conan Doyle s writing.
Fine performance of all characters.
A five star entertainment experience.
I received a free copy of this audio book at my own request and voluntarily leave this honest review. .

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  • Tracey Allan
  • 10-13-19

Fantastic

Brilliant story and a really fantastic narration which brought the whole book to life. Story very much like the original Sherlock tales (Arthur Conan Doyle) . Cannot wait to hear the other Sherlock tales of which I have lots.
I received this audiobook free in return for an honest unbiased review.
Tracey Allan

2 people found this helpful

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  • Jeff
  • 11-16-19

SHERLOCK HOLMES MIXED WITH THE HOLY FATHER

THIS STORY TAKE TO GREAT ICONS AND SMASHES THEM TOGETHER FOR A RIGHTEOUS HISTORY LESSONWITH A BIT OF JUST WHATS GOING ON BEHIND THE VATICAN DOORS.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Helen
  • 09-07-19

great book

When the papal apartments are burgled in 1901, Sherlock Holmes is summoned to Rome by Pope Leo XII.
great book enjoyed it very much
Narrated by: Nigel Peever who brought everything to life

1 person found this helpful

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  • G. Preston
  • 03-17-18

Lovely recreation

Would you listen to The Vatican Cameos again? Why?

If you know Sherlock Holmes best from the Cumberbatch TV series, you might be surprised to learn that the Holmes in Conan Doyle's books was a much better mannered gentlemen and his friendship with Watson is much more companionable and less tortured. Robert T Ryan captures Conan Doyle's voice and style very well, making this an enjoyable adventure, which like most SH novels, is essentially a short story with a long flashback to pad it out. Cleverly he runs the SH mystery and the flashback in parallel, cutting between them, which improves the pace enormously.

If you’ve listened to books by Richard T Ryan before, how does this one compare?

This is my first encounter with this author.

Which character – as performed by Nigel Peever – was your favourite?

Nigel Peever does an excellent job with all the characters but his standout is the infamous Pope Alexander Borgia, given a rich deep voice.

If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

A mystery which will destroy the Vatican. Holmes will need to perform a miracle.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Sam
  • 02-01-21

Interesting but...

I have listened to all the Sherlock Holmes adventures on Audible by this author and generally enjoyed the stories. While this story was interesting, I was unprepared for the description of graphic sexual acts. The story could’ve been far more subtle and enjoyable, but instead it bordered on pornographic and completely inappropriate for a person who simply wishes to settle down with a good mystery.