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)
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