In this book, professor of English Brian McCuskey explores the role of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s character Sherlock Holmes in Doyle’s lifelong project of promoting Spiritualism as a scientific religious worldview. McCuskey locates the great detective within larger debates of the era between religion and science and rhetorical gambits about “the logic of logic.” He argues that Holmes effectively confused magical and scientific thinking, paving the way for Spiritualism’s scientific claims at the end of the nineteenth century, as well as dangerous conspiracy theories at the beginning of the twenty-first century.

Although Holmes is presented as, and generally understood to be, a master of logical deduction, most of his conclusions are actually leaps of logic that only work within a fictional universe. As McCuskey writes, “Holmes’s observations are the projections of his own interior illumination. He gaslights everyone else’s reality” (62). So in the real world, when people attempt to...

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