Synopses & Reviews
A new adventure from the author of Chronicles of Sherlock Holmes and Sherlock Holmes and The Giant Rat of Sumatra
A colorfully dressed Bedouin brandishing a sword and wearing an ancient symbol of Christianity interrupts the breakfast of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson with a cryptic message of warning: they must stay away from the affairs of his people. Before long the world’s most famous detective and his tenacious assistant are dispatched to the Vatican to investigate the murder of Cardinal Tosca. Considered the Pope’s natural successor, Tosca was involved in work of a controversial nature—talk of a lost gospel coincided with the arrival of several mysterious packages from Egypt—and he was killed as he worked on the translation of an ancient scroll. All clues point towards Holmes and Watson’s Bedouin intruder and there are whispers of the involvement of a so-called "unholy trinity." The duo embark upon a dangerous trip to Egypt, the birthplace of the Coptic Church, to uncover the nature of a parchment missing from Cardinal Tosca’s office and, ultimately, the motives of the Bedouin.
Drawing on brief references to two of Dr. Watson’s untold tales Gilbert sacrifices fidelity to Conan Doyle’s originals for an action filled globe trotting plot in his fifth excursion to Baker Street (following 2013’s The Annals of Sherlock Holmes). In 1896 the pope requires the assistance of Sherlock Holmes after someone slits the throat of one of his likely successors Cardinal Tosca. The invitation to the Vatican comes shortly after a sword wielding Bedouin visited 221B to warn Holmes not to interfere with matters that aren’t his concern. Once in Italy Holmes learns that the dead cleric was translating a scroll from Aramaic recently arrived from Egypt and he follows the trail of clues to that country. The secret behind the crime will be all too familiar to readers of religious thrillers. Watson’s efforts at disguise are laughably inept and Gilbert displays an inordinate fondness for exclamation points (“I tore the communication open with a feverish excitement for it bore the unmistakable red gold cross keys crest of the Holy See!”). (Feb.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved."
About the Author
Paul Gilbert is the author of Sherlock Holmes and the Giant Rat of Sumatra and The Chronicles of Sherlock Holmes.