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City of Secrets: The Startling Truth Behind the Vatican Murders

3.52  ·  Rating Details ·  91 Ratings  ·  17 Reviews
On the night of Monday, May 4, 1998, in Vatican territory, the bodies of the commander of the Swiss Guard, his wife, and a young lance corporal were found in the barracks of the picturesque force entrusted with protecting the pope. It was the worst bloodbath to take place in more than a century in the heart of the supreme authority of the world's one billion Catholics. Fou ...more
ebook, 336 pages
Published October 13th 2009 by HarperCollins e-books (first published January 21st 2003)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Gerald Sinstadt
A young man from a broken family background (doting mother, wastrel father, violent stepfather) joins the army, is bullied by a commanding officer who cruelly denies him a warranted medal. The young man then kills the officer and the officer's wife before turning his gun on himself.

In a compassionate society there would have been public outrage and demands for an enquiry. But not in the case of Lance Corporal Cédric Tornay. Because this army was the Swiss Guard, the Pope's private defence force
Mar 24, 2016 Gerry rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
'City of Secrets: The Truth behind the Murders at the Vatican' is a book which must have one of the most misleading sub-titles ever printed. If there is any truth within the pages, I didn't spot it. Despite John Follain's constant and extensive digging and interviewing of all and sundry who may or may not have been involved, we are left with the Vatican's official verdict on the incident. I kept expecting to be reading something like, 'So, after all, we can see that Cedric Tornay did not shoot t ...more
S.H. Villa
Well, if the Vatican had any secrets, they still have them, because they ain’t in this book. Poor management, yes, bullying in the Guards, and homosexuality, possibly.

Some time ago I did some research on Opus Dei to use in one of my Spanish crime series. I was surprised to see Opus Dei mentioned in connection with a book published in 2003 which I hadn’t come across, so I bought it and read it.

I began to suspect about 2/3rds through that Follain wouldn’t find out anything which could be described
Dec 29, 2010 Eva rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Definitely an interesting read. Obviously the Vatican is a very secretive place, but this book might blow your mind a little about the lengths that they will actually go to to protect their way of life. Not the most amazingly written book I've ever read but it definitely fit the bill for an interesting and quick read.
Jun 22, 2008 Ed rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Scandalous triple murder-suicide rocks Vatican. What really happened?
I liked the way this book made me feel as if I were there, walking in the streets and hallways of the tiny Vatican nation.The information on the Swiss Guard was also interesting.
Aug 07, 2013 Chris rated it it was ok
Not bad, but it just seems to be related rumors more than anything else.
Marianne Meyers
Weak. This could have been a page turner but instead is very tepid and all over the place.
Jan 22, 2014 Jeff rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
An interesting, well-researched look at the 1998 Vatican homicide/suicide. You feel like you know the answer to your questions in the first third of the book, but the author manages to pique your interest in reading further. As usual, the Vatican cannot be trusted to police or even protect itself.
May 04, 2011 Jim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
I read this book a number of years ago. It, among other works, led to my reconsidering my connection to Catholicism. Any human institution is subject to human failings. This is the story of one such failure.
Apr 06, 2008 James rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
What really happened on the night three people were shot dead at the Swiss Guards' barracks in the Vatican City? This is what journalist John Follain set out to discover. Finding the answer proved harder than he might have expected.

On the evening of May 4 1998, gunshots rang out in the apartment of Alois Estermann, the newly-appointed commander of the Swiss Guards. Inside, Estermann, his Venezuelan wife and a young guardsman named Cedric Tornay were found dead. Within hours, a statement from th
Robert LoCicero
Apr 07, 2016 Robert LoCicero rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A well-written book which illuminates a strange murder occurring in the Apostalic Palace in the Vatican in May of 1998. On May 4 two Swiss Guards, a lance corporal and his commander, and the commander's wife, were found dead of gunshot wounds. It appeared to be a murder suicide with the lance corporal, Cedric Tornay, of the French-speaking part of Switzerland, having shot the commander, Alois Estermann, of the German-speaking part of Switzerland, and his wife, Meza Romero, then shot himself in t ...more
Apr 17, 2016 Jeremy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A murder/suicide in the Vatican and a rush to judgement. No great discovery but a trip through the Holy city and particularly the Swiss Guard that opens many doors to our understanding of the very very closed community. A good read that unveils a lot - if not exactly the thriller it looks like it is going to be at the start.
Guadalupe Chulin
Apr 11, 2015 Guadalupe Chulin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime
Very interesting book.
Jun 07, 2015 Danna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2015
It was very interesting.
Donna Leibel
Sep 16, 2016 Donna Leibel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The hypocrisy, lies and cover up by the Vatican is absolutely unbelievable. I feel very sorry for Tournay and his family.
Tom Lenda
Tom Lenda rated it it was amazing
Jan 27, 2013
Gary Schneider
Gary Schneider rated it really liked it
Apr 20, 2015
Giselle rated it really liked it
Mar 05, 2015
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Hima rated it did not like it
Apr 28, 2015
Esraa Farghaly
Esraa Farghaly rated it really liked it
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Mark Oyama
Mark Oyama rated it really liked it
Oct 19, 2010
Carolyn rated it it was ok
Dec 26, 2015
Desaray Granzow
Desaray Granzow rated it liked it
Jul 10, 2008
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