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The Complete Collection of Father Brown Stories

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The Complete edition of Father Brown Stories includes all five collections of mystery stories by G. K. Chesterton starring an unimposing but surprisingly capable Catholic priest Father Brown’s as a detective. Combining captivating stories and insightful commentary, The Father Brown stories are a delightful read. This Kindle edition is the only that includes 300 endnotes exp The Complete edition of Father Brown Stories includes all five collections of mystery stories by G. K. Chesterton starring an unimposing but surprisingly capable Catholic priest Father Brown’s as a detective. Combining captivating stories and insightful commentary, The Father Brown stories are a delightful read. This Kindle edition is the only that includes 300 endnotes explaining now forgotten historical and literary references, names, and places. These notes combined with 65 illustrations make the reader feel like chasing criminals along the London streets together with the legendary detective.


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The Complete edition of Father Brown Stories includes all five collections of mystery stories by G. K. Chesterton starring an unimposing but surprisingly capable Catholic priest Father Brown’s as a detective. Combining captivating stories and insightful commentary, The Father Brown stories are a delightful read. This Kindle edition is the only that includes 300 endnotes exp The Complete edition of Father Brown Stories includes all five collections of mystery stories by G. K. Chesterton starring an unimposing but surprisingly capable Catholic priest Father Brown’s as a detective. Combining captivating stories and insightful commentary, The Father Brown stories are a delightful read. This Kindle edition is the only that includes 300 endnotes explaining now forgotten historical and literary references, names, and places. These notes combined with 65 illustrations make the reader feel like chasing criminals along the London streets together with the legendary detective.

30 review for The Complete Collection of Father Brown Stories

  1. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    The omnibus is the exhaustive collection of G.K. Chesterton's Father Brown short stories. If you've got a taste for detective stories and clever, British tones, then you'll love it. The omnibus is huge and I've been working through it for about 8 months. Take it a story at a time with a cup of hot tea and low lighting!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca

    I feel kind of harsh giving this book 2 stars, since I really enjoyed the first five stories, which were the ones I was reading for university. In fact, I enjoyed them so much I decided to carry on reading this 700-odd page anthology, even though the required reading for the module was only the first 125pp or so. Taken on its own, Book 1, "The Innocence of Father Brown", would have easily earned an extra star or two from me. Book 2, "The Wisdom of Father Brown", was still fun to read, but I foun I feel kind of harsh giving this book 2 stars, since I really enjoyed the first five stories, which were the ones I was reading for university. In fact, I enjoyed them so much I decided to carry on reading this 700-odd page anthology, even though the required reading for the module was only the first 125pp or so. Taken on its own, Book 1, "The Innocence of Father Brown", would have easily earned an extra star or two from me. Book 2, "The Wisdom of Father Brown", was still fun to read, but I found the stories were starting to feel either slightly repetitive, as Chesterton resorted to similar plots as those he used in the first collection, or confusing and unsatisfying in their resolutions. I only made it halfway through the second story in Book 3, "The Incredulity of Father Brown", before giving up - I just wasn't being drawn in by the premise any more, especially as Father Brown was by now inexplicably transplanted from his quaint English parish to a globe-trotting career as spiritual adviser to the rich and famous in the Americas. (Seriously, did I miss something there?). Usually I'm loath to give up on a book, but this downturn occurred just shy of the collection's halfway mark, and I decided that on this occasion it was simply an unjustified investment of my time to hang on to the end, 400 or so pages away, just to see if things improved. Not that I'm accusing Chesterton of being a bad writer; he's funny and his characters are engaging in ways that make up for the odd unbelievable moment or plot hole, the sort that are to be found in any long-running detective series. But, as the introduction to the volume informed me when I turned to it for answers, the author was writing from Book 3 onwards under some duress. Like Arthur Conan Doyle and Agatha Christie, Chesterton had grown tired of his signature creation and wanted to retire him; as with Sherlock Holmes and Hercule Poirot, public demand for more Father Brown stories eventually wore down the author's resistance; but unlike Conan Doyle and Christie, Chesterton does not, to my mind, succeed in hiding his boredom with the series. The situations become more outlandish as if to make up for the fact that the endearing heart of the original few stories has gone. And for me, it just didn't work. I think that perhaps I'd have had more patience with this series if I'd been reading the five or six original collections separately, rather than in one complete volume. I love Agatha Christie, particularly the Hercule Poirot series, but I think I'd get bored reading all the Poirot stories back-to-back in a single collection, too; this style of presentation does serve to highlight some of the repetitions and escalations that are present in most long-running detective series, but that aren't particularly obvious or bothersome if you read them with a decent gap in-between. I hope to come back to my copy of the Complete Father Brown some day, with fresh eyes and a few other books to read alongside it, to break it up into stand-alone short stories as they were originally intended to be read. In the meantime, I'd recommend anyone who loves detective fiction to go out and find a copy of "The Innocence of Father Brown", but to consider reading it and judging it by itself and on its own merits, rather than using this collection as an introduction to the character and the series.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Katie

    Oh my...how much do I love Father Brown? I don't have a crush on him like I do on Lord Peter Wimsey, but he's so wise and compassionate and unassuming that I wish he was my priest. Not that I have a priest, or would really know what to do if I did. But that's how much I like him.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Lora

    I so enjoy dipping into these time and again. One brief story before I have to cook supper; one story before bed. A story read out loud to change the mood of intractable children; one story to remind me again of the forgotten joy of being human. Sometimes I read reviews of older literature and someone is often angsting about the book offending entire classes of people. I find I would rather read an old book that assumes women are weak than a new book that assumes they must be sexually aggressive I so enjoy dipping into these time and again. One brief story before I have to cook supper; one story before bed. A story read out loud to change the mood of intractable children; one story to remind me again of the forgotten joy of being human. Sometimes I read reviews of older literature and someone is often angsting about the book offending entire classes of people. I find I would rather read an old book that assumes women are weak than a new book that assumes they must be sexually aggressive in explicit ways. And if I fall into a category that is supposedly offended, why just let me alone to deal with the offense on my own, or accept that I find no offense whatsoever! The Father Brown mysteries do get strecthed thin at times. There are just too many of them not to! At the same time, they are well done, many are nearly perfect in timing, mood, and reasoning. The characters are interesting. The religious melding of thinking and feeling is SUCH a breath of fresh air in our day of artificial boundaries between science and faith, or thinking and feeling. Those boundaries are stupid. They are like the man looking at himself in the mirror and deciding that his head is more important than his heart, or that his brain is the only thing in his head that thinks. Anyway, Father Brown makes for wonderful mystery stories, fantastic doses of irony, finely chiselled humor, and all well supprtive of Christianity, true reasoning, absolute truth, and decent humanity. I am so glad I discovered these. Our paper copy has suffered in its loyal service to our reading needs in the family. I am pleased to say that we now have digital copies on the kindle. I've come back to add a little detail because I am working my way through the series again. Resurrection of Father Brown continues to be my favorite, or next to fave including The Blue Cross. The God of the Gong actually horrified me more than last time with the nasty comments about lynching and so on. These stories run the gamut. Some almost make no sense whatsoever. Others shine like jewels on display in a museum.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Kyle Rapinchuk

    Father Brown is simply one of the best characters ever created--a blend of brilliance, joy, and simplicity. The stories are engaging, the endings are believable, sometimes even solvable, but never obviously predictable or boring. With five volumes, there are inevitably certain similarities in some stories, but Chesterton finds a way to make each story unique. The first two volumes ( The Innocence and Wisdom of Father Brown) are the best, but some excellent stories are sprinkled throughout the ot Father Brown is simply one of the best characters ever created--a blend of brilliance, joy, and simplicity. The stories are engaging, the endings are believable, sometimes even solvable, but never obviously predictable or boring. With five volumes, there are inevitably certain similarities in some stories, but Chesterton finds a way to make each story unique. The first two volumes ( The Innocence and Wisdom of Father Brown) are the best, but some excellent stories are sprinkled throughout the other three volumes, and I didn't think any story disappointed. Fans of Chesterton or fans of mysteries of this era (Dorothy Sayers' Lord Peter Wimsey, Agatha Christie's Hercule Poirot, or slightly earlier Doyle's Sherlock Holmes) will love Father Brown.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Megan

    Father Brown is to psychology what Sherlock Holmes is to material evidence. Re-reading these last Fall, I found that the chief pleasure and merit of the Father Brown mystery stories is getting inside the mind of Chesterton himself. The stories themselves are uneven in worth -- I got the impression that Chesterton churned them out, occasionally pausing over insurmountable implausibilities and plot defects but then just moving on with a shrug. Even so, they are fully as clever as any television de Father Brown is to psychology what Sherlock Holmes is to material evidence. Re-reading these last Fall, I found that the chief pleasure and merit of the Father Brown mystery stories is getting inside the mind of Chesterton himself. The stories themselves are uneven in worth -- I got the impression that Chesterton churned them out, occasionally pausing over insurmountable implausibilities and plot defects but then just moving on with a shrug. Even so, they are fully as clever as any television detective episode I've seen and the nuggets of psychological wisdom are delightful.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Pamela Shropshire

    I notice that it has taken me two months exactly to read this omnibus of all the Father Brown stories. Father Brown is unlike any other detective in fiction. His approach to solving crime - usually murders - is to imagine himself as the murderer: ’I had planned out each of the crimes very carefully,’ went on Father Brown, ‘I had thought out exactly how a thing like that could be done, and in what style or state of mind a man could really do it. And when I was quite sure that I felt exactly like t I notice that it has taken me two months exactly to read this omnibus of all the Father Brown stories. Father Brown is unlike any other detective in fiction. His approach to solving crime - usually murders - is to imagine himself as the murderer: ’I had planned out each of the crimes very carefully,’ went on Father Brown, ‘I had thought out exactly how a thing like that could be done, and in what style or state of mind a man could really do it. And when I was quite sure that I felt exactly like the murderer myself, of course I knew who he was.’ ******** ’And when you spoke merely in defence of your friend – no, sir, I can’t imagine any gentleman double-crossing another under such circumstances; it would be a damned sight better to be a dirty informer and sell men’s blood for money. But in a case like this —! Could you conceive any man being such a Judas?’ ‘I could try.’ said Father Brown. It is quite obvious from his writing that Chesterton was a brilliant man. He is sometimes difficult to follow - impossible, in fact, for a casual reader. The reader must read carefully to understand his meanings. But his writing is not only cerebral, but beautifully descriptive and poetic, if sometimes a bit dark or gruesome, but always his descriptions set an atmosphere. It was one of those rare atmospheres in which a smoked-glass slide seems to have been slid away from between us and Nature; so that even dark colours on that day look more gorgeous than bright colours on the cloudier days. ******* . . . the blood was crawling out from under his fallen face like a pattern of scarlet snakes that glittered evilly in that unnatural subterranean light. ******* . . . the tree-tops in front of them stood up like pale green flames against a sky steadily blackening with storm, through every shade of purple and violet. The same light struck strips of the lawn and garden beds; and whatever it illuminated seemed more mysteriously sombre and secret for the light. The garden bed was dotted with tulips that looked like drops of dark blood, and some of which one might have sworn were truly black;. . . It is not a surprise that Chesterton’s writings as saturated, as it were, with his religious beliefs - doubly so since his hero is a Roman Catholic priest. Father Brown’s character is complex and sometimes seems to hold contradictory views. He upholds traditional values, and so would be today classified Conservative. And yet he is very much on the side of the so-called “common people;” the workers, the poor, the rag-dressed beggars. Most would today call that a Liberal view. And yet in Chesterton’s Christianity, that is the orthodox view; it follows the teachings of Christ. I deliberately read this slowly; I allowed myself two or three stories per day, and I think this is the most effective and beneficial way of reading it. I didn’t read from it every day, and thus I didn’t tire of so many stories back to back. One final note: this book was published in 1899, and it contains many slang words relating to ethnicities that are considered offensive and taboo today. There are points at which Father Brown’s character makes statements that a modern reader will interpret as racist. I tried not to judge this book - published over 100 years ago - by my modern sensibilities. If you have less tolerance for this sort of thing, you might want to skip it. Honestly, there was one story that was so bad that I skimmed over it. (The God of the Gongs in “The Wisdom of Father Brown” had virtually no redeeming features.) That is why I gave this 4 stars instead of 5; because while I try not to judge older writings for this aspect, still, it lessens my enjoyment.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Stefan

    Father Brown is one of my favourite fictional detectives because G. K. Chesterton embodied him with a wonderful sense of time and place. The strength of Chesterton's Father Brown stories lie in their diversity (brilliant, contemplative and bizarre - sometimes all at once) consistent cleverness and wide range of themes (far more depth then I usually expect from mysteries). 'The Complete Father Brown' is a volume packed with so much top-notch quality material that one read really only captures the Father Brown is one of my favourite fictional detectives because G. K. Chesterton embodied him with a wonderful sense of time and place. The strength of Chesterton's Father Brown stories lie in their diversity (brilliant, contemplative and bizarre - sometimes all at once) consistent cleverness and wide range of themes (far more depth then I usually expect from mysteries). 'The Complete Father Brown' is a volume packed with so much top-notch quality material that one read really only captures the surface. I now understand completely why Chesterton's Father Brown was so transformative for the mystery genre (especially when other authors like Agatha Christie seem superficial by comparison).

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jenn

    Wow. I picked up this book because I was enjoy mysteries that are neither cozy nor thrillers, so I find that older mysteries are more to my taste. However, I didn't really enjoy these at all. While I thought some of the solutions were problematic, as in "The Invisible Man", and I was put off by the fact that people kept getting killed right under Father Brown's nose, my main problem was with the tone of the stories. A short, incomplete list of people who might be offended by these stories includ Wow. I picked up this book because I was enjoy mysteries that are neither cozy nor thrillers, so I find that older mysteries are more to my taste. However, I didn't really enjoy these at all. While I thought some of the solutions were problematic, as in "The Invisible Man", and I was put off by the fact that people kept getting killed right under Father Brown's nose, my main problem was with the tone of the stories. A short, incomplete list of people who might be offended by these stories include: women, Jews, black people, Asians, Protestants, Buddhists, Hindus, atheists, agnostics, pagans, Italians, Americans, union members, actors, Communists, intellectuals, Celts, Scottish people...basically, if you are not a white male English Catholic, you might want to be prepared for something insulting to be said about you at some point. I realize that these stories were written before WWII, but jeez. On the plus side, these are blessedly short, tightly written stories that won't take up too much of your time. They're so easy to read that I finished the whole book, despite several headdesk moments. I also like the character of Father Brown, a kindly priest who understands the criminal mind because his religion's emphasis on the sinful nature of all mankind. Chesterton is very imaginative author, and some bits are quite funny. I liked the emphasis on redeeming the criminals in these cases--in so many mysteries, it's just toss them in the poky and be done with it. So, you might enjoy these if you can look past the outdated stereotypes.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Ari Joy

    I'm a little sad that I've finished it, since it was the complete Father Brown. The last time I went to read it I hated it; I found it priggish, and overly concerned with darkness. But now, I guess, it reads to me like someone who might feel the world has forgotten what sin is; has forgotten what the snarls of the human soul can be like and get to, in the worst of times. Have we really forgotten so well? I don't like to think of sin, but Father Brown makes me think of it in the most prosaic way, I'm a little sad that I've finished it, since it was the complete Father Brown. The last time I went to read it I hated it; I found it priggish, and overly concerned with darkness. But now, I guess, it reads to me like someone who might feel the world has forgotten what sin is; has forgotten what the snarls of the human soul can be like and get to, in the worst of times. Have we really forgotten so well? I don't like to think of sin, but Father Brown makes me think of it in the most prosaic way, as though it were simply a matter of being straight and good, or not. He makes me want to be good. Truly. And I think, that's the best kind of effect a book can have. One wonders, did Chesterton conduct the 'spiritual exercise' he has his little priest follow, of delving so completely into the heart of every human twist as to see it in himself, and forgive, and realize how near he was to it? One wonders if Chesterton were as uncommonly good as this little priest is, with his simplicity, and his rationality, and his kindness.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Trish

    When I was young there was a Father Brown TV show which I loved. Much later, I decided to actually read the short stories, and enjoyed them as well. Good, old fashioned vintage mysteries. And now with the new BBC version with Mark Williams, I'm beginning to wonder whether I ought to read them again.

  12. 4 out of 5

    John

    Wow, that was a LOT of stories... Father Brown makes for a fascinating counterpoint to Sherlock Holmes. Whereas Holmes uses cold logic and hard facts to solve mysteries, Father Brown relies on his intuition, his knowledge of the human condition, and his ability to imagine himself in other people's shoes. Holmes is tall and lean, while Brown is short and stocky. Holmes projects a sense of unmatchable competence, whereas Brown initially strikes people as a bumbler, possibly even a fool. Holmes is d Wow, that was a LOT of stories... Father Brown makes for a fascinating counterpoint to Sherlock Holmes. Whereas Holmes uses cold logic and hard facts to solve mysteries, Father Brown relies on his intuition, his knowledge of the human condition, and his ability to imagine himself in other people's shoes. Holmes is tall and lean, while Brown is short and stocky. Holmes projects a sense of unmatchable competence, whereas Brown initially strikes people as a bumbler, possibly even a fool. Holmes is direct and to-the-point; Brown has a tendency to speak in enigmatic riddles. As much as I enjoy a good Conan Doyle mystery, I find Chesterton's take on the detective formula to be a good deal more clever. For example, Doyle afforded Homes an office on Baker Street, where clients could conveniently show up on his doorstep and unburden themselves of the particulars of a given case. Chesterton, however, denied himself the luxury of this approach and instead came up with a fresh, novel explanation for Father Brown's involvement with each mystery. Often, this means that Brown doesn't even appear until halfway through the story, or he might simply function as a background character up until the moment when he finally steps forward to solve the case. The fact that one can never really be certain when and how Father Brown will turn up gives these stories a greater sense of variety and unpredictability than your typical Holmes adventure. Chesterton also injects a great deal of humor in the proceedings, even poking fun at himself from time to time by subtly referencing the inherent absurdity of a country priest getting wrapped up in more murders than a big city policeman could hope to dream of. Chesterton also makes things difficult on himself by insisting that each story illustrate a larger philosophical point. It is his success in doing so that makes these stories as satisfying as they are. Because, let's face it, if it's sheer entertainment value you're looking for, then Conan Doyle has Chesterton beat. Comparatively speaking, Brown's adventures are slow, wordy, and lacking in excitement, and Chesterton certainly puts a higher demand on his readers. However, the jaw-dropping sophistication of Chesterton's writing and the weighty philosophical musings he imparts more than make up for the fact that these stories are hard to get into, and that the answers to his puzzles sometimes strain credulity.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Tyas

    Father Brown is a Catholic priest who somehow always gets involved in crime - as the one who solves the case, of course. But Father Brown doesn't seem to have logical methods like Sherlock Holmes, or Hercule Poirot, perhaps. In fact he oftentimes looks like a dreamy, absent-minded clergyman whose words nobody may understand. Several times people think he has known who the culprit is and is telling them to capture the man - when all he's saying is that the man is a witness or somebody who knows m Father Brown is a Catholic priest who somehow always gets involved in crime - as the one who solves the case, of course. But Father Brown doesn't seem to have logical methods like Sherlock Holmes, or Hercule Poirot, perhaps. In fact he oftentimes looks like a dreamy, absent-minded clergyman whose words nobody may understand. Several times people think he has known who the culprit is and is telling them to capture the man - when all he's saying is that the man is a witness or somebody who knows much about the case. This leads to some serious inconvenience, of course. The story that I remember the most is The Honour of Israel Gow - in which Father Brown shows that there are a lot of conclusions or explanations that we can get from the same set of evidence. Many of the stories are very funny, and the mystery and the mystery-solving that follows remarkable, but the latest stories lack the depth and wit of the older stories. Add Chesterton's Catholicism that got even thicker with every publication of Father Brown's stories, and the 'racist' remarks made in so many places in them, you probably may think that the stories are despicable. But don't let the views of early 20th century hamper your enjoyment of one of the gems of the detective genre. Father Brown may not be as famous as he used to be nowadays, but he's actually one of the greatest, if not the strangest, characters of the genre that portrays the men and women of 'detection'.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Deborah O'Carroll

    An omnibus collection of all 5 books (plus an extra short story) of Father Brown, totaling 51 short stories in all, which I picked up when a friend was getting rid of some books. I just love the Father Brown stories! Especially the ones with criminal/criminal-turned-detective, Flambeau, who’s a great friend of Father Brown. I enjoy mysteries but I don’t usually have enough patience for a full novel-length one, so mystery short stories are my favorite, and these were all so unique and awesome. Fa An omnibus collection of all 5 books (plus an extra short story) of Father Brown, totaling 51 short stories in all, which I picked up when a friend was getting rid of some books. I just love the Father Brown stories! Especially the ones with criminal/criminal-turned-detective, Flambeau, who’s a great friend of Father Brown. I enjoy mysteries but I don’t usually have enough patience for a full novel-length one, so mystery short stories are my favorite, and these were all so unique and awesome. Father Brown is such a unique and unexpected detective, so unassuming but smart and also humble… He just IS. And pair him with clever mysteries and my favorite character Flambeau and they’re just awesome stories with this great “feel” to them. I just really enjoy them and I’ve read the entire collection at least twice and want to read it again. To me, they’re right up there with the classic Holmes stories as far as mysteries go. <3

  15. 4 out of 5

    Maureen

    G.K. Chesterton wrote these relatively gentle accounts of a parish priest who had a knack for crime-solving in the 1920s. The stories are fairly short, and are usually solved by logic combined with Father Brown's spiritual viewpoint. A piece of Scripture occasionally sneaks in, but more often an allusion to the life of a saint or other religious figure will aid Father Brown in the solution to the dilemma. Not all stories have a religious slant, but Chesterton's attitude is always evident in his G.K. Chesterton wrote these relatively gentle accounts of a parish priest who had a knack for crime-solving in the 1920s. The stories are fairly short, and are usually solved by logic combined with Father Brown's spiritual viewpoint. A piece of Scripture occasionally sneaks in, but more often an allusion to the life of a saint or other religious figure will aid Father Brown in the solution to the dilemma. Not all stories have a religious slant, but Chesterton's attitude is always evident in his depiction of "the real Father Brown, who is not broken at all; but goes stumping with his stout umbrella through life, liking most of the people in it; accepting the world as his companion, but never as his judge."

  16. 4 out of 5

    Jonathan Westbrook

    After listening to one of the audio plays on my mp3 player, I thought I would read this quintessential little English priest's adventures through the world of crime. Been putting if off for a while but decided a new year would be a great time to start it. Only after realizing that each story was just a few pages long, it was just one story after another of some little priest jumping to conclusions and everyone, including the culprit, just assuming God's man knows best and either giving themselv After listening to one of the audio plays on my mp3 player, I thought I would read this quintessential little English priest's adventures through the world of crime. Been putting if off for a while but decided a new year would be a great time to start it. Only after realizing that each story was just a few pages long, it was just one story after another of some little priest jumping to conclusions and everyone, including the culprit, just assuming God's man knows best and either giving themselves up or accepting it as Gospel truth. Was a bit unimpressed

  17. 5 out of 5

    Andrew Orange

    Classic literature. Many believers in the God and atheists are surprised at the absence of the supernatural phenomena in these stories.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Becca

    Review for THE INNOCENCE OF FATHER BROWN read 1/06/19 --- 1/13/19 4.5:5 stars How do I review a book that is so thoroughly EPIC?! Think Sherlock Holmes as a little, round priest, and you have Father Brown. That isn't to say that the Father Brown stories and the Sherlock Holmes stories are nearly identical. G. K. Chesterton and Arthur C. Doyle are two very different writers, and their mystery writing is the first place which proves that. I've discovered that in the Father Brown stories you often come Review for THE INNOCENCE OF FATHER BROWN read 1/06/19 --- 1/13/19 4.5:5 stars How do I review a book that is so thoroughly EPIC?! Think Sherlock Holmes as a little, round priest, and you have Father Brown. That isn't to say that the Father Brown stories and the Sherlock Holmes stories are nearly identical. G. K. Chesterton and Arthur C. Doyle are two very different writers, and their mystery writing is the first place which proves that. I've discovered that in the Father Brown stories you often come upon startlingly insightful one-liners. G. K. Chesterton is also a master at creating that deliciously creepy atmosphere perfect for a good mystery (think THE HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES, Poe, and Hitchcock). Best short quotes: "The most incredible thing about miracles is that they happen." "The criminal is the creative artist; the detective only the critic." "Every clever crime is founded ultimately on some one quite simple fact --- some fact that is not in itself mysterious. The mystification comes in covering it up, in leading men's thoughts away from it." "Have you ever noticed this --- that people never answer what you say? They answer what you mean --- or what they think you mean." "You are my own only friend in the world, and I want to talk to you. Or, perhaps, be silent with you." "We have taken a wrong turning, and come to a wrong place. . . . Never mind; one can sometimes do good by being the right person in the wrong place." "Cheerfulness without humor is a very trying thing." Never mind the long quotes. Read this book to unearth them on your own! I won't go on to reading THE WISDOM OF FATHER BROWN immediately because too many short stories all in a row are the perfect way to ruin my appreciation of a certain author. Even so, I look forward to reading more of G. K. Chesterton's amazing imaginations!

  19. 5 out of 5

    LeAnne

    Fun classic mystery stories. For the most part they are intellectual puzzles rather than action pieces, which means there are a lot of people sitting around talking about what happened. Some of the solutions are quite bizarre! I appreciated how the author treats Christian faith, but was disappointed to see how little that faith overcame cultural prejudices against foreigners and people of other races.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Suzieh

    I enjoy watching Father Brown Mysteries on BBC America so I decided to read the stories. The writing was different because of when it was written but still I still found the book enjoyable. Of course, as I read the book, I pictured Father Brown like the actor on the tv show.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Loretta

    Honestly, I just couldn't get into this book. Not the fault of the writer, of course. The problem is, writing styles have changed so much, and because of that, this one seemed far too wordy for me. I'm afraid this is one for my DNF shelf.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Una Tiers

    While I enjoy the television program, reading didn't get me to the same place.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Jeannie and Louis Rigod

    A book written in it's time and for all time! Excellent stories.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    Some of the stories I really enjoyed and others were hard to follow. Overall I liked this mystery compilation of short stories. I'll definitely reread my favorites.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Stephen Goforth

    I only became aware of Father Brown through the television program, but as books are inevitably greater than their poorer children, I wanted to read, as it were, the genuine article. I was not disappointed. * One note of caution; these tales were written at a time when people of color were routinely demeaned and dehumanized in print. These stories are no exception, although Father Brown is, thankfully, seldom the culprit.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Katie

    This was my second time reading through this collection, and I loved the stories even more this time. Although the detective stories are rather odd and at times extravagant (as many stories in this genre tend to become), Chesterton always has at least two striking comments in human nature in each story. Father Brown is also a refreshing character; in the first story in this collection (The Blue Cross) he comes as a sort of surprise at the very end of the story. All in all, these stories are quit This was my second time reading through this collection, and I loved the stories even more this time. Although the detective stories are rather odd and at times extravagant (as many stories in this genre tend to become), Chesterton always has at least two striking comments in human nature in each story. Father Brown is also a refreshing character; in the first story in this collection (The Blue Cross) he comes as a sort of surprise at the very end of the story. All in all, these stories are quite enjoyable.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Todd Stockslager

    Review Title: Parables of crime It is interesting that the most well known of Chesterton's writings today are these slight short story mysteries and not his more serious literary, theological or political writings. But then again, perhaps it is both inevitable and not so lamentable, for these stories contain the germ of all his other writing in parable form. So while readers may be voting with their eyes to read the lesser work, they are still drinking from the same deep pool of thought, and that Review Title: Parables of crime It is interesting that the most well known of Chesterton's writings today are these slight short story mysteries and not his more serious literary, theological or political writings. But then again, perhaps it is both inevitable and not so lamentable, for these stories contain the germ of all his other writing in parable form. So while readers may be voting with their eyes to read the lesser work, they are still drinking from the same deep pool of thought, and that isn't a bad thing. It doesn't do wonders for the stories as mysteries, however, and in fact I have shelved this in my database with fiction and not mysteries. Sometimes the stories seem written specifically as frameworks from which Chesterton can hang his thoughts, and the traditional reader's game of solving whodunit or howdunit suffers as a result. And truth be told, there is no rigid law of mystery writing that requires the author to lay facts and clues for the reader to make the discovery themselves. The only obligation of the author is to tell a good story and Chesterton does that here. If you try to think ahead and guess the mystery, you will find Chesterton has sometimes withheld needed clues, or stirred in a deus ex machina in wrapping up the mystery in a way that we the reader could never have guessed. Chesterton wrote the stories throughout his career in five separate collections, each of eight or twelve stories in length. While the biography of Chesterton that I recently read suggested that critics felt the quality of the stories had consistently declined, I didn't notice an appreciable difference from beginning to end when reading them consecutively here in an edition collecting all the stories in one volume. Perhaps it is because I wasn't reading them as classic mysteries but as Chesterton stories. The common thread is of course Father Brown, described as short, dumpy, unprepossessing, often forgotten or ignored in a scene until he makes a quiet and seemingly incongruous and unrelated comment. His mind jumps so quickly forward or sideways that characters who do not know him sometimes ask "what is wrong with you?" (I wonder if the writers of the old detective show Columbo had read Father Brown? Surely they must have) Those who know him trust and recognize that jump as crucial to the solution, like his sidekick in many of the stories Flambeau, the jewel thief whom Father Brown helped catch in an early story who repented and reformed and became a detective specializing in jewel thefts. In fact the stories with Flambeau seem the strongest stories. The plots are mostly standard stuff of the short story mystery genre. The first story in the last collection, "The Scandal of Father Brown," is presciently relevant to our celebrity culture, and almost reads like a plot summary for a Kardashian family reality show. Other stories touch on the effect of terrorism on a free society, and on the lengths we'll go for security. Often stories hinge on the people we don't observe around us because they are silent or their jobs are under the radar, such as the postman whose unobserved comings and goings actually enabled the who and the how of an apparently impossible mystery. From any other writer this collection would get one less star, but because you don't read the Father Brown stories for the mystery but for the wordplay and wisdom of G. K. Chesterton, this is definitely four star material. And if you like the parables, try finding some of Chesterton's nonfiction and keep reading.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Janellyn51

    I did it, I read the whole thing! Short stories can be sort of disruptive to your brain. It takes a page or two to get the gist and then it's over in 10 or 15. There's a ton of stories in this omnibus of 813 pages, It's almost that by the time you've read the next story, you've forgotten what the previous story was about. But you do have the common thread of Father Brown. I did want to read this because I fell in love with the Father Brown series no PBS. I love Syd the chauffeur, and the Lady an I did it, I read the whole thing! Short stories can be sort of disruptive to your brain. It takes a page or two to get the gist and then it's over in 10 or 15. There's a ton of stories in this omnibus of 813 pages, It's almost that by the time you've read the next story, you've forgotten what the previous story was about. But you do have the common thread of Father Brown. I did want to read this because I fell in love with the Father Brown series no PBS. I love Syd the chauffeur, and the Lady and Father Brown's Irish housekeeper. But, much like Rizzoli and Isles, it bears little resemblance to the actual stories beyond Father Brown solving mysteries, or more to the point murders. Although, one thing that I did notice with the series and the stories is that Father Brown in his infinite wisdom was from time to time inclined to let a criminal off, not without dispensing some manner of penance though. This Father Brown of the stories has become somewhat renowned for his detective skills, and solicited to give lectures in the States. He's been in several countries for leisure and priestly reasons, and not unlike Jessica Fletcher, stumbles upon murder wherever he goes. Flambeu, the jewel thief turned detective is a recurring character, and a close friend of Father Brown's. I enjoy Father Brown's thought processes. He doesn't going around blowing his own horn, he listens, and banks all his theories on his knowledge of human frailties. While everybody else is chasing their own tails, he stares placidly off into space and waits till they pause for a moment and then says this is what happened and why. Rather than solving mysteries based on DNA and fingerprints, he would more often point out that for all the reasons you think someone is guilty, they are all the reasons he believes them to be innocent. I read someone's review who went on about Chesterton and how he's anti semetic and a long list of other unpalatable personality characteristics, he has no problem throwing the word jew or nigger around, but I think that you have to think in terms of the generation in which it was written, and how permeated with political correctness the world is now, that it's all the more jarring when you hear those words and all they connote, and maybe Chesterton was a total creep in his prejudice's but it's still the way of his era overall. If I'm going to read and learn about other eras or countries, then I want to know how they thought and spoke and not get some sanitized version of how things were.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Cliff

    I feel a bit mean in giving this only three stars, but really are the Father Brown stories really that good. I first read them over 50 years ago and on this re reading remembered nothing - apart from the famous postman. Let's think about that first. The story as is well known hangs on the fact that nobody noticed the postman enter the building where the crime was committed. Now I just don't buy that. If a person were asked if anyone had entered a building, surely the answer would be no one excep I feel a bit mean in giving this only three stars, but really are the Father Brown stories really that good. I first read them over 50 years ago and on this re reading remembered nothing - apart from the famous postman. Let's think about that first. The story as is well known hangs on the fact that nobody noticed the postman enter the building where the crime was committed. Now I just don't buy that. If a person were asked if anyone had entered a building, surely the answer would be no one except the postman, not just 'nobody'. I found the lack of a sense of place irritating. Holmes had Baker Street, Wimsey London and the family seat, Rebus Edinburgh, Morse Oxford etc etc. But not so Brown. In the first story where he is noticed on the train by the French policeman seeking Flambeau we learn that Brown is a humble parish priest of a village in Essex. That village is never named again. Much later another Essex village is named en passant but again only once. However, between these two mentions another story puts him as the priest in charge of a fashionable parish in Kensington. In between these posts he dashes hither and yon around England Europe and the Americas. One wonders where this humble priest gets all the money for these junkets. The series is riddled with inconsistencies. When we first meet Flambeau he is Europe's most wanted. Brown assists in his apprehension but within a couple of stories he's a reformed character and running his own detective business. Did not the master criminal spend any time behind bars? In the first book of stories we are told that 27 years earlier Brown had spent some time in Chicago where he helped the local police. Yet in a later book he goes to the USA 'for the first time'. I get the definite feeling that Chesterton didn't really like writing the books - certainly after the first two. Indeed the edition I read had a preface which tells us that he only continued to write further stories for the money. To me it shows. Which brings me to my last point. The books are very much of their time. The 'n' word is frequently used. Anywhere far off is referred to as 'the Cannibal Islands'. People, especially foreigners and villains are often described as having yellow faces. Something that in all my years I've never seen. Southern Europeans tend to be 'dagoes' and suspect - apart, that is, from the Spanish Flambeau - but even he is stereotyped with long drooping moustaches.i

  30. 4 out of 5

    Facundo Martin

    I read many of these stories as a kid but I think I never finished the whole omnibus. This time I re-read some based on anthologies and recommendations. I would like to give this book 4 stars but can't. One of the best things the Father Brown stories have going for them is the style. I've read Chesterton was an artist too and that really shows: his descriptions have the indefinite vibrancy of a watercolour painting and his characterizations brim with life. Sometimes he goes overboard and some pa I read many of these stories as a kid but I think I never finished the whole omnibus. This time I re-read some based on anthologies and recommendations. I would like to give this book 4 stars but can't. One of the best things the Father Brown stories have going for them is the style. I've read Chesterton was an artist too and that really shows: his descriptions have the indefinite vibrancy of a watercolour painting and his characterizations brim with life. Sometimes he goes overboard and some paragraphs lean rather on the side of purple prose, but on the whole the style is superb and carries the stories to the end despite some fuzzy plots. Allegories and parables are masterfully used and some witticisms are worthy of Wilde. But then the book is peppered with a fair share of bigotry and racism that ruin the flavour of the stories and Chesterton's proselytizing zeal grows less and less subtle--our attention is constantly drawn to every character's religious affiliation and to the shortcomings of non Roman Catholics-- as he appears to grow more and more bored with his franchise. But the series manages to be readable and enjoyable despite its flaws and is definitely its own brand of detective fiction! Four stars: The Sign of the Broken Sword, The Blue Cross, The Secret Garden, The Queer Feet Three stars: The Flying Stars, The Sins of Prince Saradine, The Hammer of God, The Duel of Dr Hirsch, The Man in the Passage, The Green Man, The Crime of the Communist, The Insoluble Problem. Two stars: The Invisible Man, The Eye of Apollo, The Head of Caesar, The Perishing of the Pendragons, The Salad of Colonel Cray, The Dagger with Wings, The Mirror of the Magistrate, The Actor and the Alibi, The Vanishing of Vaudrey, The Blast of the Book One star: The Wrong Shape, The Oracle of the Dog, The Chief Mourner of Marne Abandoned half-way through: The Curse of the Golden Cross

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