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Very few Sherlockians would make the argument for Holmes as a vehicle to discuss religious or spiritual principles. In fact, quite the opposite - Holmes may be seen as the ultimate in rational thinkers, keeping himself within this world and staying within the realm of sheer intellect.

That would be a mistake, for as Stephen Kendrick suggests in his book Holy Clues, many spiritual lessons can be learned from Holmes' approach. (Recently, I had an opportunity to revisit the book, having read it a few years ago)

Subtitled "The Gospel According to Sherlock Holmes," the book uses Holmes' approach - with a liberal helping of other thinkers - to suggest a way of approaching spirituality through a more skeptical lens. Granted, the book may tactfully avoid the darker aspects of the canon, but Kendrick provides multiple examples of ways in which a Holmesian approach may strengthen one's spiritual convictions.

Thankfully, there is an open approach towards integrating different trains of spiritual thought, with Zen/Buddhist concepts given equal weight with Judeo-Christian ideas. It's a book that provides a great deal of enlightenment, and that may spark a great deal of debate and discussion amongst Holmes aficionados.

Granted, this is an unusual approach to the canon - treating it as a way of determining a spiritual lifestyle. Kendricks, however, manages to perform an impressive feat in Holy Clues, suggesting that matters beyond humanity are not necessarily beyond anyone....including Holmes.

Very highly recommended.

Have you read it? We would be interested in your opinion in the comments below.

Editor's note: Gordon regularly covers the intersection of Sherlock Holmes and the entertainment industry. You can also find him at Blog THIS, Pal! and Comic Related.