My name is Sherlock Holmes. It is my business to know what other people don’t know.
The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle, Page 254, (The Penguin Complete Sherlock Holmes (1981) ISBN 0713914440)
The idea of mystery is central to the good news of the gospel. That which was once hidden is now revealed in the Person and work of Jesus Christ. I enjoy mystery novels for the some of the same reasons I (still) enjoy the story of Jesus and His surprise visit to our world. The fictional characters and plot of a good contemporary mystery novel give me an even deeper appreciation for the non-fiction masterwork of the Gospel.
Human authors exercise limited autonomy in the construction and development of their stories – limited, because we all live and breathe, and have our being in Him (God); that is, we are contingent beings. The Lord, on the other hand, exercises absolute sovereignty in the grand metanarrative of human history – a story that also manages to incorporate the exercise of human free will in the process of accomplishing the divine Author’s intent. The great mystery of the Gospel is beyond our ken and our capacity to fully appreciate; and yet, we find that, on a very finite stage, we can simulate some of the essential elements of that grand design in the genre of a finely wrought mystery novel.
The result, in a good writer like Doyle, may be unintentionally mimetic of God’s mysterious design; still, it remains a popular form, because the essential idea of mystery touches something deep in all of us – the desire to untie the knot, to satisfy the tension of an unresolved chord.
The Perot Museum of Nature and Science is hosting a Sherlock Holmes exhibit through May 10. This article by David Flick highlights the work of Don Hobbs, a Sherlockian of the first rank (12,000 volumes stuff one of his spare rooms), and a resident of Flower Mound. I have not attended the exhibit yet, but I intend to go soon. By all accounts, it will be an entertaining and enlightening investment of time and not munch money.
“Come, Watson, come!” he cried. “The game is afoot. Not a word! Into your clothes and come!” The Adventure of the Abbey Grange, Page 636.