Rev. Phil White
  • Male
  • Fort Myers, FL
  • United States
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Rev. Phil White's Discussions

Divine Detectives Wanted
12 Replies

I am preparing a three part discussion on Clergy or others who have a religious vocation that also solve crimes. As a part of this discussion I have an 8 page index of the characters, authors and…Continue

Started this discussion. Last reply by Rev. Phil White Mar 2, 2011.


Rev. Phil White's Page

Profile Information

Fort Myers & Sarasota, Florida
About Me:
A pastor serving a church - expecially interested in "Divine Detectives", that is clergy or other religious professionals and amateurs solving crimes.
I Am A:
Books And Authors I Like:
I have a 8 page index of Divine Detectives. Among my favorites are Laurie King, Spencer-Fleming, Ellis Peters, Tremayne and many more.

My guilty pleasures include Tim Dorsey and Carl Hiaasen - crazy Florida thrillers.
Comic Strips - Zits, Baby Blues, Doonesberry, Lio, Cul-de-Sac, and Mythtickle (and Peanuts, Calvin & Hobbes, & Pogo)
Also Tolkien, Lewis, Rowling, Doyle;
as well as Spider Robincon (Callahan's stories) and Orson Scott Card (Hatrack River and the Enders series).
Movies And TV Shows I Like:
current - CSI, Hawaii 50, Castle, Big Bang, The Simpsons, Fringe, Glee,

previous - Father Dowling, Brother Cadfael, Name of the Rose

Star Treks, Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Pixar (various), Potters,

Comment Wall (8 comments)

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At 12:46am on April 12, 2011, jhbogran said…


Need your email address so I can send you Absolution Withheld.

Please send via PM. 


Thank you,



At 5:13am on January 9, 2011, Donna Fletcher Crow said…
What a good point!  So much is said, quite rightly,l about the mercy of God, but we really should spend time giving thanks for the humor of God.  Or maybe his humor is actually an aspect of His mercy.
At 6:12am on January 6, 2011, Donna Fletcher Crow said…

"Religion can cause any number of rifts in an otherwise functional family. " Oh, you've noticed that, have you?  grin.  Theologically we're on the same page, but ecclesiology is the rub, isn't it?  I often wonder what God must think--never mind your ancestor scowling. I often just picture God shaking his head.  Of course the Free Methodist minister will be considerably lower church than the Anglo-Catholic priest, but they get along well.  (Then there's our Presbyterian son & family and Roman Catholic son & family.)  Our background is Nazarene and my husband and i worship in a Wesleyan/Anglican church.  How's that for ecumenism?

As to my writing, son-in-law Lee, (C of E from England, but now in Calgary) was a major help in writing A VERY PRIVATE GRAVE.  I thank him in my acknowlegments.  Lee & our daughter both studied at The College of the Resurrection in Mirfield, Yorkshire, which serves as thinly veiled background model for my book.

No, I can't imagine writing a clerical mystery without being a believer.  The feeling would be all wrong and you would just get too many details wrong.  Although I must say Phil Rickman's Merrily Watkins is one of my favorites and I don't suspect Phil (with whom I've corresponded a bit) of being too devout. 

I recall a Colin Dexter book where Morse (or someone) chases a suspect into a church in April and notes the green altar cloth.  No.  During the month of April there is no possible way the altar cloth could have been green.  A tiny detail, but just an example of what will happen. 

At 12:37pm on January 5, 2011, Donna Fletcher Crow said…
I'm laughing.  Your Mom sounds lovely and I'm sure she is up there smiling at you, too.  I never thought about this before, though.  I have a son-in-law Anglican priest and a son studying to be a Methodist minister.  I'm suddenly worried about their sermons!
At 6:33am on January 5, 2011, Donna Fletcher Crow said…
It's interesting what writers reveal about themselves--or don't reveal--through their characters.  One of my first published books was a cookbook THE FRANTIC MOTHER that told stories about our family and gave recipes.  My mother was so embarrassed when it came out because I had told family stories.  That didn't bother me at all, because I figured we're pretty much like any other family (as Tolstoy said about happy families being all alike).  When my first novel was published, however, (BRANDLEY'S SEARCH) I wanted to go hide under the bed because that exposed what was going on in my mind.
At 5:59am on January 5, 2011, Donna Fletcher Crow said…

I hope you are successful at Sam's Club.  If not, Barnes & Noble should have it.  And then there's always Amazon, or ordering through my website

Your project sounds fascinating!  Do keep me posted on how it progresses and let me know if I can do anything more to help you.  Have you found the website:  He maintains a very complete listing of "Divine Detectives."

Ah, what interesting questions.  How did I feel about committing murder?  I completely agree with P. D. James in her Talking About Detective Fiction  that the victim should be mourned and the loss of that human being should be felt.  I was more aware of that in Fr. Dominic's death than I have been in any of my previous mysteries.  For one thing, Fr. Dominic is based on a real monk whom I know and love.  Also, his murder was much bloodier than I usually write.

Having said that, I don't believe I had a physical response either to the crime or to it's solution, but throughout the story I felt the regret which Felicity voices at the loss of this holy man.

In A DARKLY HIDDEN TRUTH, the next in the series which will be out sometime this year, the regret is for the loss of a young man with a successful art career behind him and just beginning his priestly training--for the loss of all the potential of what he might have accomplished.

Since all detective fiction in one way or another is a matter of bringing order out of chaos ( P.D.James again) and showing good triumphing over evil I find there is always a sense of accomplishment, satisfaction, completion at having brought that about.


At 2:32am on December 31, 2010, Leni Pearce said…


I'm new here. Just looking over your profile, and I'd like to tell you that I enjoy religious mysteries very much. The first one that comes to mind is P.D. James' "Death in Holy Orders", but I've read a great many others. I enjoy the D.M. Greenwood books about clergywoman Theodora Braithwaite, and I've read all the Brother Cadfael mysteries. Mind you, I thought the BBC series was better than the books! I've read some of the Father Koesler mysteries by William X. Kienzie, and Andrew M. Greeley's books about Bishop Blackie, and there are many others that I've read. I'm always happy to learn about new ones.

It would be fun to discuss relgious detectives.

Best regards,

Leni Pearce

At 2:12am on December 30, 2010, Kate the Book Buff said…
Welcome!  I just wanted to introduce myself, and my blog, The Book Buff: Book Reviews for Regular People.  Check it out at

It can be a bit overwhelming around here at first, so if you have any questions, please don't hesitate to ask!
-Kate the Book Buff

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