Holiday Reading Around Our Churches

If you are planning to take a novel to read during your Summer holiday you may be tempted by one of two which have fulsome references to two churches in the Diocese in Europe. Bishop Geoffrey says he much enjoyed reading Gyles Brandreth’s novel Oscar Wilde and the Vatican Murders, which features prominently the Anglican church of All Saints in Rome.

The book is set in 1892, when Sir Arthur Conan Doyle meets Oscar Wilde in Germany with a suitcase full of fan mail. The discovery of a package containing a finger; a lock of hair; and  an entire severed hand takes the trail to Rome, and to a case that involves miracles as well as murder.

Brandreth coverPope Pius IX has just died—these are uncertain times in the Eternal City. Wilde and Conan Doyle must penetrate the innermost circle of the Catholic Church and expose the deadly secrets of the six men closest to the pope. Members of All Saints Anglican church and visitors too will want to see how this Anglican outpost features in a fast moving novel.


Valerie Offord from the church at La Cote, near Geneva  in Switzerland was surprised to find their growing congregation was mentioned in Tom Cain’s thriller Dictator published in 2010. Their mother congregation of Holy Trinity Geneva is also honoured by a visit from the central character Samuel Carver who makes a visit to each church during services.


Valerie says the story is a good one, despite the author’s faux pas of referring to Vicars when the Diocese in Europe has traditionally had Chaplains serving in it. Nor, she says, are services of Evensong the normal setting for Holy Communion!

One reviewer says of the book "Dictator is an ideal holiday novel for a thriller fan, with a hard-as-nails protagonist, satisfyingly gritty action sequences, beautiful women and a collection of very nasty baddies". If you are reading it when visiting either of these Swiss churches your comments would be welcomed.

Oscar Wilde and the Vatican Murders by Gyles Brandreth (2011) published by John Murray.

Dictator (2010) by Tom Cain is published by Bantam Press