Read by G.K. Chesterton Online

Forty-nine quietly sensational cases investigated by the high-priest of detective fictionFATHER BROWNImmortalized in these famous stories, G.K. Chesterton's endearing amateur sleuth has entertained countless generations of readers. For, as his admirers know, Father Brown's cherubic face and unworldly simplicity, his glasses and his huge umbrella, disguise a quite uncanny uForty-nine quietly sensational cases investigated by the high-priest of detective fictionFATHER BROWNImmortalized in these famous stories, G.K. Chesterton's endearing amateur sleuth has entertained countless generations of readers. For, as his admirers know, Father Brown's cherubic face and unworldly simplicity, his glasses and his huge umbrella, disguise a quite uncanny understanding of the criminal mind at work.This Penguin omnibus edition contains* The Innocence of Father Brown* The Wisdom of Father Brown* The Incredulity of Father Brown* The Secret of Father Brown* The Scandal of Father Brown...

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ISBN : 28673994
Format Type : Mass Market Paperback
Number of Pages : 389 Pages
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  • Amy
    2019-02-16 22:49

    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!

  • Rebecca
    2019-02-20 20:04

    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.

  • Katie
    2019-02-18 22:54

    Oh 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.

  • Kyle
    2019-01-25 00:59

    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.

  • Megan
    2019-02-04 21:58

    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.

  • Lora
    2019-02-20 20:06

    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.

  • Stefan
    2019-02-07 23:53

    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).

  • Trish
    2019-01-29 00:50

    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.

  • Jenn
    2019-02-20 23:07

    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.

  • Tyas
    2019-02-08 22:03

    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'.

  • Ari Joy
    2019-01-29 00:52

    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.

  • Jonathan Westbrook
    2019-02-19 22:49

    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

  • Todd Stockslager
    2019-02-07 19:02

    Review Title: Parables of crimeIt 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.

  • Janellyn51
    2019-02-07 20:05

    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.

  • John
    2019-01-21 23:15

    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.

  • Cliff
    2019-01-31 00:06

    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

  • Facundo Martin
    2019-02-19 01:06

    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 FeetThree 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

  • P.M. Pevato
    2019-01-23 20:09

    It's difficult to ignore Chesterton's influence on Agatha Christie.In Miss Marple's debut, The Murder at the Vicarage, Agatha Christie makes direct reference to Chesterton. Hercule Flambeau, Hercule Poirot, another nod to Chesterton's ex thief in the infamous Belgian detective. And in Christie's "Sanctuary", Miss Marple solves a crime that has shades of "The Flying Stars".Unlike Sherlock Holmes or Poirot, Father Brown's sleuthing abilities are shaped by his vocation - priest, confessor - unlike the deductive abilities of Holmes or Poirot's little grey cells. But don't be fooled by the cleric's apparent naivety: more like Miss Marple, Father Brown applies life experiences to solve crimes that confound detectives. Chesterton's writing style reflects the era and may not satisfy readers who prefer modern styles. His sentence structures, metaphors, vocabulary, etc weren't bothersome for me.I enjoyed most of the stories, though found the last 3/4 somewhat repetitious. Father Brown would describe a case so lots of telling and not much showing.Given the time the short stories were written, the author uses racial slurs commonly used at that time. Many readers will find this highly inappropriate. In fact, whenever I can across one of the slurs, I had knots in my stomach. I may have rated this a 4.5 if those slurs were absent. My actual rating is 4.5 for at least the first half to 3/4 of the anthology, and 3.5 or so for the last 1/4.Overlook that, and readers who enjoy murder mysteries and the BBC series will find this anthology a great addition to their collection.

  • H. M. Snow
    2019-02-07 16:47

    Father Brown is one of those fictional detectives you read and reread more for the philosophy than the mystery. As a short-story mystery writer, Chesterton doesn't "play fair"; he doesn't give the reader all the clues all the time. Often, you'll know who the criminal is before the crime has been committed. But Father Brown will continue as a classic for those who enjoy Chesterton's nonfiction, because he stands as the embodiment of those writings. He solves crimes in his head, not by the physical evidence as other amateur detectives of fiction might, but by imagination. In the character's own words, "I was a sort of understudy; always in a state of being ready to act the assassin. I always made it my business, at least, to know the part thoroughly. What I mean is that, when I tried to imagine the state of mind in which such a thing would be done, I always realized that I might have done it myself under certain mental conditions, but not under others... And then, of course, I knew who really had done it..." (from The Secret of Father Brown, "The Secret of Flambeau")The recurring motif of identification with and compassion for the criminal, not to mention the winsome and whimsical title character himself, make this one of my favorite mystery collections.

  • John
    2019-02-20 19:04

    Tastes change; I find that I don't enjoy the Father Brown stories as much as I used to, or as much as I thought I did.I'm still a fan of G.K. Chesterton, and I do enjoy his invention of the dumpy little priest (we're never told his first name) who is able to solve crimes because he understands the criminal mind because he has heard it all in confession.The stories get a little too fantastical for my tastes. Also, in a couple of them, language is used that is unacceptable by today's standards. It makes those stories, at a minimum, no fun to read.My favorites are the earliest stories, and my favorite of all is the first one, "The Blue Cross," in which Father Brown is introduced as "so much the essence of those Eastern flats; he had a face as round and dull as a Norfolk dumpling; he had eyes as empty as the North Sea; he had several brown paper parcels, which he was quite incapable of collecting."And at the end of this story (spoiler here, but only on that first story) he tells the thief who accompanied him disguised as a priest how he knew he was a fraud:"You attacked reason," said Father Brown. "It's bad theology."

  • Kaila
    2019-02-10 21:08

    103 pages in and I see no reason to read any further. I dislike not finishing books, although as I get older I find myself doing so more and more - there are too many books out there to be read, that reading one that isn't my cup of tea seems silly. I'd initially been reading this book slowly due to the small font size and tired eyes, however by this point I was just bored. The stories, to a degree, were tedious, and while I did enjoy the first few stories, my enjoyment has been waning since then. To me the plots are thin, the solutions thinner. It is easy to blame this on the age of these stories, the time in which they were written, but regardless of the why, there's this huge disconnect for me. Again, initially I really did like the character of Father Brown, but by the time I had finished The Wrong Shape that had also changed. I think there are probably stories within this massive tome that are good, but finding them...I don't have the patience, or desire, to wade through the rest to do so.

  • Deborah O'Carroll
    2019-02-19 17:02

    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

  • Melinda
    2019-01-27 18:13

    I'm partway through the first section of these short stories. I wish I owned the book so I could finish it. It's huge and not designed to be read at a single sitting. Each mystery deserves to be savored alone. For this reason it makes a great book to put in the throne room (bathroom).I probably won't get to finish it this time around, but when I find a copy at a yardsale I'll know to pick it up. And since the library has it, I may check it out again.The psychological factors Father Brown understands intimately, hence giving me insights. I just read the one where he cautions against praying only in high and solitary places, because of the ant-like quality it imparts to other people and the telescopic God-like perspective it gives the one who prays. I needed to hear that. I need to get down and get messy occasionally, that is, get involved in people's lives instead of stand back and watch.

  • Benjamin
    2019-02-02 19:01

    These stories are a sly combination of whodunit, social commentary, and theological reflection. The BBC series currently being shown on PBS is clearly interested only in the first of those three, and manages to avoid the other two by using only the figure of Father Brown, and none of Chesterton's actual stories. I suppose the writers for the series would find the social commentary out-of-date, as they have set the stories in a different period. Those same writers probably missed entirely the theology of the stories, though the viewer can't tell, because, as I said, they don't actually use any of the original stories. Further, they have saddled Father Brown with a housekeeper and a chauffeur, neither of whom appear in any of the real stories. They have also eliminated Flambeau, the penitent jewel thief, turned detective, who shows up in a number of the stories. The stories are much more satisfying than the series.

  • Anita
    2019-02-18 22:10

    Chesterton made a man who is sharp-witted, dreamy, kind, hard, dumpy, odd, lovable... in short, who takes my attention and holds it tight. I LIKE Father Brown. I would love to be stuck next to him on a long airplane ride with nothing to do but talk.There is nothing of the thriller about these mysteries. They are more pretty descriptions, a plot twist, and a philosophical musing, generally. They aren't keep-you-up-late stories, so much as curl-up-with-tea stories. But I like that in them, too.Some things which didn't impress me so much in these books, are the author's apparent biases. He can come down rather hard on theologies not his own, at times, and there also seems to be some of what may be racism, if it isn't just outmoded language. Over all, though, it earns its stars.

  • Jim Puskas
    2019-02-13 00:04

    As detective stories go, Chesterton's fall into the category of charming oddities. No one could consider Father Brown to be the least bit credible as a character and I doubt that Chesterton expected his readers to take him seriously. These stories were meant purely for entertainment. There's almost never any heinous crime, let alone murder; in many cases, there's been no crime at all, just a situation that at first seems baffling, a little mystery to be explained. Father Brown has provided me with many hours of quiet fantasy by the fireside on cold winter nights. Which is more beneficial than many a priestly office and much more satisfying than many a blood-soaked melodrama penned by other highly regarded crime writers of our day. Long may he continue to amuse us.

  • Abigail
    2019-02-08 16:56

    The first and last story were my favorite.

  • rabbitprincess
    2019-02-19 20:01

    Father Brown is probably one of my favourite detectives. Ever since Grade 8, I've been hooked on the stories of his quiet intelligence and the outlandish cases in which he becomes embroiled.The first cases are the best, in my mind, but even at the worst Father Brown is quite readable. My favourite case is his very first, "The Blue Cross" -- it is a brilliant work that had me actually laughing out loud at the good Father's ingenuity. The plots are original, the writing excellent -- Chesterton can paint very vivid pictures with his description -- and the stories are a must-read for anyone who appreciates a good, clever mystery.

  • Bianca Klein Haneveld
    2019-02-04 20:09

    This would have been 5 stars if Chesterton would not have taken quite a few prejudices of his day and time as a given. When the stories contain views about other religions than christianity or are about other cultures than the western ones, these tend to be jarring.But the plots are impeccable, the humor is great, the observations in other instances are sharp and about our own culture the book shows a lot of wisdom. I couldn't put it down. Father Brown is a lovable, wonderful character.I am glad that there is a recent tv-serie where they have skipped the racism and kept the real heart of the stories.

  • Böðvar
    2019-02-17 20:03

    Having only read the first eight stories, I have to say: Very well written, at least for its time. Interesting to see that elements of Father Brown may have found its way into Agatha Christie's characters like Mr. Poirot and Miss Marple.Having finished the book I find the stories generally well written, some, though, better than others. NOTE: Quite different from the Soap-Opera-Style TV episodes and so much better!