- € 5,49
The third in a series of Sherlock Holmes forbidden-to-be-published Adventures under the Imprimatur of the Conan-Doyle Estate:
A single, strong plot line dominates the story, but it has many tangled tributaries. It may be useful to list the names and attributes of new characters introduced:
[An (X) denotes those who are killed in the story]
Cardinal Vecchio: A sinister cleric conspiring to win the Papacy
Father Duncan: Watson’s Vatican-appointed attorney
Dr. John Dougherty (X): Watson’s friend and Afghan-campaign comrade at arms, later known to have been a spy for the British Government.
Vesuvia (X): A prostitute who sets up Dougherty to be murdered
Madam Fortini: Vecchio’s Mistress
Dr. Cobb: Discoverer of Dougherty’s unique murder
Dr. Corona: A Dougherty enemy who becomes Holmes’ helper
A Sicilian (X): A specialist in the Vatican Cryptographic Chamber who alerts the Black Hand to Holmes suspicions
Brenta (Vesuvia’s Twin): (in the same profession) Enraged at her sister’s murder, she becomes very helpful with introductions to the Don’s wife
The Don: (Capo de Tutti Capi) Boss of the Roman Black Hand; orders Vesuvia’s jealous lover’s death
The Don’s Wife: Helpful in engaging the Don’s assistance
Captain Kartini: Perfidious member of the rural policia who attempts to get Watson killed
Maury: Unlikely nickname for Mauritzio Cartoglia, an old carabineri acquaintance of Holmes
Professional Assassin (X): Kills the Sicilian and Vesuvia and perhaps another.
Unique Venue at the time:
Because the Vatican is a City State within Italy, it has its own laws, courts, jail/prison, morgue, etc., therefore criminals/suspects must undergo extradition to be taken into custody by the Roman policia or the carabineri. It could legally try, convict, and if called for, execute individuals. Italy, and therefore Rome still observed the Napoleonic Code of justice, forcing the accused to prove their innocence.
The Plot in brief:
Attending a Coroner’s Convention in Rome, Watson is accused of the murder of Dougherty because he was the last person known to have seen him alive. He is arrested and thrown in the local jail, unable to communicate in Italian.
Holmes eventually secures his release on the technicality that he was arrested on a site considered to be Vatican property, so he is bound over to the Vatican in Holmes’ custody, giving him the freedom to help in his defense, aided by Father Duncan. Using evidence found in Dougherty’s hotel room, they are led to confront Dr. Corona, who proves to be innocent, and becomes helpful.
Vesuvia is identified as the result of a series of deductions; she admits setting up John, but is killed before she could testify.
Watson, mistaken for Holmes, survives two assassination attempts.
The Cardinal is implicated but offers a rational (though flawed) explanation for the perceptions.
With all potential witnesses useless or dead, Watson is tried in court by an excellent prosecuting attorney, receives a brilliant defense by Father Duncan, but is convicted.
As the death sentence is in the process of being delivered, Holmes upsets the court with an Amicus Curiae appearance and presents evidence involving Dr. Cobb.
Holmes confesses to something so extraordinary that it is absolutely incredible to Watson.