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Holy Clues: The Gospel According to Sherlock Holmes (Vintage) [Kindle Edition]

Stephen Kendrick
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $15.00
Kindle Price: $10.99
You Save: $4.01 (27%)
Sold by: Random House LLC

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Book Description

If God is the greatest mystery of them all, then why not, in pursuit of God, consult the greatest detective of them all? In this imaginative and surprisingly profound book, Stephen Kendrick reveals Sherlock Holmes as spiritual guide.

Drawing on the teachings of Christianity, Buddhism, and Judaism--as well as a host of thinkers as varied as Albert Einstein, Gandhi, and Vincent van Gogh--Kendrick explores the stories of Sherlock Holmes and finds remarkably prescient religious insights. He shows us the link between careful observation of clues and the Buddhist concept of "Bare Attention." He illuminates the parallel between the great sleuth's pursuit of justice and God's actions on the scene of the first murder, when Cain slew Abel. And in the detective's open, engaged mind, Kendrick finds a model for uniting the principles of science with a sincere spiritual quest. The result is a book of inspiration for the modern, skeptical searcher--and an entertaining work that sheds new light on the methods of the world's greatest detective.


From the Trade Paperback edition.

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Perhaps we are drawn to detective stories because they represent our hunger to solve the ultimate spiritual mysteries of humankind. "After all, if the sleuth can discover the darkest and most guarded and protected stories within the human heart, can that of God's inscrutable will be far behind?" suggests parish minister and author Stephen Kendrick. In this ambitious yet highly successful book, author Kendrick explains how Sherlock Holmes's crime-solving methods of attention and observation can indeed help us solve and understand our own spiritual mysteries.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the writer who created Sherlock Holmes, certainly appreciated these parallels. Doyle himself had a strong interest in metaphysical and spiritual studies and inserted many of these references into his stories. Kendrick catches them all--from Holmes's Zen-Buddhist gleanings to the detective's painful bouts of soul-doubting despair. Kendrick also shows how Holmes's five basic detective principles can be applied to spiritual sleuthing: nothing is irrelevant; notice what we see; beware the deceptiveness of the ordinary; the bizarre is not necessarily the mysterious; and never presume anything. With his insightful and engaging writing style, Kendrick will gratify mystery fans and mystics alike. --Gail Hudson

From Publishers Weekly

Arthur Conan Doyle's inimitable detective Sherlock Holmes once remarked to his erstwhile assistant, Dr. Watson, "you see, but you do not observe." Kendrick, the parish minister of the Universalist Church of West Hartford, Conn., contends that Holmes's remark functions much like a Zen koan, generating insights into the realm beyond reason. Kendrick engages in a close reading of Doyle's Sherlock Holmes stories to demonstrate that detective fiction erects a method of discovering truth that requires much of the same engagement that various religions require to discover spiritual insight. Holmes's inquisitiveness and his attention to the details of the case resemble, the author says, what Buddhism calls "bare attention." Following his analysis of the Holmesian "gospel," Kendrick comes to several conclusions: "Our vision is sound; we have to train our hearts and minds to notice what we see"; "Nothing is little; our lives are more significant than we can know; it is often through our pain and guilt that we encounter the hidden God"; "Religion is found not only in the spectacular but in the simple, the ordinary, the plain and everyday, and all this is aglow with the mystery of awe." Kendrick's lively readings of the Sherlock Holmes stories combine a deep sense of how attentiveness to the details of ordinary life can yield extraordinary insights into the life of the spirit. (June)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Product Details

  • File Size: 730 KB
  • Print Length: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; Reprint edition (December 18, 2007)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B000XUBCM2
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #830,539 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Charming, delightful, and very wise November 27, 1999
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I found this book a very pleasant surprise. Sherlock Holmes on religion? Surely this could not be a serious book. Then I read a paragraph at random and was fascinated--and immediately bought a copy. Of course Stephen Kendrick edits his quotes from Holmes to show the detective's nobler sentiments; there is none of the negativity here (no reference to drugs or other evidence of the character's darker nature.) The book is very inspirational and is a real pleasure to read. I feel that there is no coincidence that early religious plays were called "Mystery Plays"--Mr. Kendrick argues that we are all detectives investigating the greatest mystery of all.
One should also remember that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was committed to the Spiritualist cause at about the same time he started writing the Holmes stories, and these tales paid for and possibly helped propagandize his own religious views. Kendrick has simply uncovered the message that Doyle wrote in the stories a hundred years ago. He has done a very capable job.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars See and observe August 21, 1999
Format:Hardcover
Stephen Kendrick has done a wonderful job. Holmes has always been fascinating to me. When I discovered a book that mixed one of my childhood heroes with the greatest mystery, I had to buy the book. I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in Sherlock Holmes or life's questions. In our information rich lives it is very easy to see and not observe. Kendrick reminds us that the true answers can be found in the smallest things. Buy the book!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Key to the Mysteries July 19, 2005
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Who better than a Unitarian clergyman to explore the spiritual values embedded in Arthur Conan Doyle's stories of Sherlock Holmes, the archetype of the coolly detached and relentlessly rational detective? Taking as his premise that detective stories should be read as modern mystery plays, the Reverend Stephen Kendrick argues that the sixty Holmes stories and novels are rooted in medieval fabliau, dealing with taboo subjects in a more human way than Scripture and liturgy with their overtly sacred subjects and explicit demarcation of good and evil. Drawing on the rationalistic and eclectic methods of his own religious tradition, Kendrick attempts to delineate the roots of Holmes' spirituality and finds them in Christianity, Judaism, and Buddhism, especially in its Zen expression.

His conclusions are threefold: First, he argues that Holmes' attention to detail, a key component of his character, is linked both to the Christian spiritual practice of attentiveness and the Zen practice of bare attention - seeing things as they exactly are. And both of these are inexorably linked to the pursuit of truth, the ultimate concern of all religion. Second, although to Holmes the skeptic God may often be comprehended only as a shadow, central to the stories is one clear and unambiguous aspect of the divine reality, a God of justice who rules a creation where right and wrong, good and evil, light and darkness are understood in all clarity and truth. And third, Holmes the scientist proves himself again and again to be a person of vision, able to see "all united" in much the same way Christian mystics from Julian of Norwich to Matthew Fox have discerned the interconnectivity of all things and all people.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This little book is one of the most insightful books I have ever read. It makes a very convincing argument that Sherlock Holmes had a great understanding of the human spirit, and as a detective, brought both justice and mercy to bear in his cases. The author knows his Holmes literature very well and also pulls in a great deal of other literature from the mystery genre in a way that provokes a great deal of curiousity. I found myself reading and rereading a lot of mystery fiction after finishing this book.
This book will give you many insights into both Sherlock Holmes and Conan Doyle, along with other mystery literature. I have read the book through several times, and it has really deepened my appreciation of mystery literature and Holmes in general. I would put it into the "desert island" category of books.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining, spiritual and downright fun August 1, 1999
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
Stephen Kendrick has taken a lifelong fascination with Sherlock Holmes and illuminated it with a grounding in spirituality. We are guided through mystery and religious teaching to really see the world, appreciate simplicity, honor science and spirituality as partners, not enemies, and to look inside ourselves for that still small voice that is God. Moving deftly through the series of Sherlock Holmes novels, Kendrick leads us to see how this character embodies our desire for justice, judgment and for mercy and foregiveness in our World. I've been a mystery fan since I was 10 years old and read Harriet the Spy. Now I know why it's a genre that's called to me. Justice and mercy.
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