Thursday, August 22, 2013

Book Review -- Murder in the Vatican: The Church Mysteries of Sherlock Holmes

By Ann Margaret Lewis, released 2010, Gasogene Books, Indianapolis Indiana, 151 pages. Paperback. Available from Gasogene Books, Ignatius Press, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Major book stores and Catholic book stores.

Reviewed by Jean M. Heimann, M.A. in Theology, freelance writer, retired psychologist, and oblate with the Community of St. John.

If you are fan of Sherlock Holmes and even if you aren't, you will become instantly and totally immersed in these titillating tales of mystery and suspense. In Murder in the Vatican, Ann Lewis skillfully weaves three exciting tales of murder and intrigue – two from the viewpoint of Dr. Watson and one from the perspective of Pope Leo XIII. Stories include "The Death of Cardinal Tosca," "The Vatican Cameos," and "The Second Coptic Patriarch."

What fascinated me about these stories is the fact that they seemed so authentic – in terms of dialogue, setting, and character --that I felt as if I were reading the actual works of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. I also relished the theology and Catholicism that was contained in these wonderful stories, which was very orthodox. Pope Leo comes to life as a man of wit, practicality, great intelligence and much compassion. He reminded me, in some ways, of our current Holy Father, Pope Francis. It is very entertaining to see him match wits with Holmes and to observe the growth of their relationship in the stories. Murder in the Vatican is clever, entertaining, and pure fun. It is a book of tales to read privately or to be shared with family or friends and read aloud. These stories are just too good not to be shared with others.

Ann Lewis’s Murder in the Vatican is a book to be savored.  It is chock full of all the elements of a great mystery story:  an intriguing plot, adventure, and a healthy dose of suspense. Above all that, it has characters that are likeable and very realistic, rich historical settings, brilliant illustrations, and my favorite part – Catholicism and theology. I highly recommend Murder in the Vatican.

~ © Jean M. Heimann, August 2013

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