Religious Belief in Recent Detective Fiction.

  • Bill Phillips
Keywords: crime fiction, hard-boiled, religion, Christianity, postmodernism, genre


Detective fiction emerged as a result of the increasing secularisation of society. The certainties expounded by the Church are reenacted through the figure of the rational investigator whose perspicacity never fails to uncover the perpetrator and return the world to its pre-lapsarian tranquillity. Often the villain whose wicked deeds must be brought to book is the leader of an obscure mystical sect, but otherwise religion, particularly of the mainstream variety, is noticeably absent. This has, however, recently changed. The detective, once the acme of rational thought and deductive flair—incarnated in the figure of Sherlock Holmes, for example—has now been replaced, on occasions, by investigators with overt religious beliefs. The explanation for this apparently inconsistent development is tied to the evolution of crime fiction over recent decades, in which both the model of the traditional hard-boiled detective and the genre itself have been questioned and deconstructed by a new generation of crime writers.

Author Biography

Bill Phillips
Universitat de Barcelona