Monday, June 17, 2013

Sherlock Holmes and the Needle's Eye

With the rush of new Sherlock Holmes productions, ranging from the popular films to the BBC’s Sherlock and CBS’s Elementary, it’s no surprise that the public-dominion character is popular with writers. Sherlock Holmes and the Needle’s Eye is a combination novel/study book in which Holmes travels back in time to solve ten Bible mysteries.
  1. Apithopel’s suicide
  2. the writing on the ground in John 8
  3. the fatherhood of Zechariah  (Old Testament martyr)
  4. the temptation of Jesus
  5. Paul and Silas’s arrest in Philippi
  6. David’s five stones against Goliath
  7. Lazarus’s death
  8. Jesus’s genealogy
  9. the timing of Jesus’s incarnation
  10.  the fall of Jericho

First of all, the writing style is excellent. The author skillfully imitates Doyle’s tone and dialogue, though a few modern slang terms slipped in. The plot also manages to keep a reasonable balance between action and explanation. Even the device used to put Holmes at many of these events is used fairly consistently throughout the book.
However, I don’t feel all the mysteries are equally significant. The first, Apithopel’s suicide, seems a rather convoluted solution, while the answer to Jesus’s genealogy seemed too obvious to bother with. On the other hand, I thought the analysis of Lazarus’s death and resurrection provided a new angle that I hadn’t seen before.
My main problem with this book is the format. I’ve read a few novel/devotional hybrids, and the former section tends suffer, with characters becoming little more than talking heads. The novel section of this book is decent, but the devotional seems more focused on solving mysteries than the power of God and his omnipotence. 
Three of five stars.

I received a free copy of this book from Thomas Nelson’s BookSneeze program but was not obligated to write a positive review.

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