Detective fans of all races and creeds, of all tastes and fancies will delight in the exploits of this wise and whimsical padre. Father Brown's powers of detection allow him to sit beside the immortal Holmes, but he is also "in all senses a most pleasantly fascinating human being", according to American crime novelist Rufus King. You will be enchanted by the scandalously innocent man of the cloth, with his handy umbrella, who exhibits such uncanny insight into ingeniously tricky human problems.
This collection of 12 mysteries solved by Father Brown includes: "The Blue Cross", "The Secret Garden", "The Queer Feet", "The Flying Stars", "The Invisible Man", "The Honour of Israel Gow", "The Wrong Shape", "The Sins of Prince Saradine", "The Hammer of God", "The Eye of Apollo", "The Sign of the Broken Sword", and "The Three Tools of Death".
©1933 G. K. Chesterton (P)1992 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
"G. K. Chesterton's tales [are] of the unassuming Catholic priest who claims that his work at the confessional (where he has to do 'next to nothing but hear men's real sins') puts him in an excellent position to solve the bizarre crimes that come his way in pre-First World War England.... The unassuming cleric, whose humble conviction that his God will eventually triumph over the souls of even the most evil of criminals, is the quiet but insistent heartbeat of these unusual exercises in detective fiction." (Sunday Times, London)
I have to say I came to these stories imagining a conservative, mildly entertaining listen. My expectations were immediately undermined by the structure of the first story, which is quite odd and unexpected. Each story has a crime and solution, and they are all held together by the self-depricating Father Brown, whose ability to understand the darker sides of human nature is formed more through is own friendship with criminals than insight from God. Themes and another main character, whom again unexpectedly evolves through the stories, give the whole book a satisfyingly complete feeling. Father Brown, the character, can be quite irritating (though I have a feeling this may be intentional on Chesterton's part), but there is a strand of humour and a lightness to the stories, despite their surprisingly brutal crimes. There is an odd clash of conservatism and liberalism in the stories which I found intriguing. It took me a while to get used to Frederick Davidson's voice (which some may find an acquired taste) but I soon came to really enjoy his reading, and especially enjoyed his use of voices for different characters. If you are new to Father Brown, like me, I really hope you enjoy this book. I am certainly going to listen to or read more.
Having recently seen the BBC adaption of Fr Brown 2013 I thought I would give the original stories a listen; I was under no illusion that the TV version would be the same as the author had intended. That said I was a little disappointed. The stories do ramble a little and are constructed in an outdated and wordy form of speech which can take some getting used to. It's only to be expected when you consider the date of publication. I personally didn't find the narrator easy to listen to, that's just my little foible. I would be interested if the Beeb did an audible dramatization. Until such a time, I'll not bother with the other books in the series.
Delightful stories about a detect e who solves intriguing mysteries using his intuitive, experienced knowledge of people
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