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Editor reviews

The eponymous "man" of this collection of short detective fiction is G.K. Chesterton’s protagonist Horne Fisher. Throughout these mysteries and investigations Fisher finds himself in the paradoxical spot of holding the key to the query while being immobilized by some privileged, often dangerous, information or connection. Harold Wiederman performs this collection with the tone of an experienced British orator who, although speaking loudly, seems constantly to be relating a secret. Perhaps this reflects the paradoxes that Chesterton was so fond of - and it certainly heightens the listening enjoyment of these enigmatic puzzling episodes. The collection includes 8 stories about Fisher and his friend the journalist Harold March, who meet in the first episode.

Summary

Gilbert Keith (G.K.) Chesterton (1874-1936) was an English literary and social critic, historian, playwright, poet, Catholic theologian, debater, mystery writer, and foremost, a novelist. Among the primary achievements of Chesterton's extensive writing career are the wide range of subjects written about, the large number of genres employed, and the sheer volume of publications produced. He wrote several plays, around 80 books, several hundred poems, some 200 short stories and 4,000 essays. Chesterton's writings without fail displayed wit and a sense of humor by incorporating paradox, yet still making serious comments on the world, government, politics, economics, theology, philosophy and many other topics. His talent as a mystery writer is displayed in his collection of detective stories, The Man Who Knew Too Much. In each story, the star detective, Horne Fisher, deals with another strange mystery: the vanishing of a priceless coin, the framing of an Irish "prince" freedom fighter, an eccentric rich man dies during an obsessive fishing trip, another vanishing during an ice skate, a statue crushing his own uncle, and a few more.

Includes "The Face in the Targe", "The Vanishing Prince", "The Soul of the Schoolboy", "The Bottomless Well", "The Fad of the Fisherman", "The Hole in the Wall", "The Temple of Silence", and "The Vengeance of the Statue".

Public Domain (P)2012 Audible, Inc.

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Darwin8u
  • 25-05-13

The Prince who Knows Paradox Too Well

A collection of Chesterton detective stories revolving around Horne Fisher and his companion, political journalist Harold March. These stories have a lot of the same late Victorian/Edwardian flavor of Sherlock Holmes and Chesterton's own Father Brown stories. The reluctant, and moral protagonist of The Man Who Knew Too Much, however, is often forced by greater-good circumstance or a need to protect the best interests of England from revealing the killer or the culprit.

The strengths of these stories revolves around the clever paradoxes that the Chesterton (the dark prince of paradox) knows too well. The weakness of these stories (and the reason I gave them 3 stars and not 4 stars) is the unsubtle antisemitism that pops up in a couple of them (especially 'the Bottomless Well').

Stories include:

"The Face in the Target"
"The Vanishing Prince"
"The Soul of the Schoolboy"
"The Bottomless Well"
"The Hole in the Wall"
"The Fad of the Fisherman"
"The Fool of the Family"
"The Vengeance of the Statue"

29 of 35 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 09-09-17

Entertaining

I enjoyed the intrigue and the twisting plot. I also like reading various fiction & non-fiction books from the same time period together to get a better feel for the people who lived then and there.

In that sense, this book fit in well with those of CS Lewis that I had just finished.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 24-08-17

Harold Wiederman is a fantastic narrator!

What made the experience of listening to The Man Who Knew Too Much the most enjoyable?

Harold Wiederman's narration, and Horne Fischer's languid and comical apparent exasperation of his own knowledge and observation skills.

Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?

Each story Horne Fischer relates to his friend have wonderfully crafted twists and unexpected conclusions. This has been my favorite GK Chesterton book so far.

What about Harold Wiederman’s performance did you like?

Harold Wiederman brings Fischer alive - as if Fischer himself was sitting with me, whilst relating his extraordinary knowledge and stories.I really hope that Mr Wiederman will be narrating more books. He made this book come alive for me, as I am sure will of other author's characters.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Anders
  • 14-04-16

I would recommend this book

Well written and well preformed I enjoyed G.K. Chesterton's less well known story of " The Man Who Knew Too Much". Eight different mysteries with surprising twists and relatable characters, I would encourage any mystery fan or fan of British literature to read this book.

I would like to caution the reader on the author's choice to include profanity in his work. I was disappointed by this which was why I could not give a full five stars to the story.

4 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • B. C. Magargee
  • 06-08-18

Collection of Mysteries

Really enjoyed the series of mystery stories involving crimes and murders that Mr. Horne Fisher finds himself a part of in each chapter. Well written with visually descriptive language. I found myself trying to solve the crime before Horne Fisher decoded it at the end of each vignette!

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    1 out of 5 stars
  • Amazon Customer
  • 21-06-18

The man who knew too much

Boring, not sure if it was the reader of book. I keep trying to get through 4 chapters.......sorry if I offend anyone. I just have different taste i guess.

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  • Living Books Mom
  • 26-04-18

Interesting.

I wish I knew more about the politics and social climate of the time period. I think that would have enhanced my enjoyment. As it was, I got lost some and bored some, but overall I was intrigued by Horne Fisher and the stories told in this book. The performance of the narrator was quite good, too.

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  • Kelli
  • 13-04-18

Interesting stories, but slow narrator.

Liked the stories, but the narrator spoke so slowly that I had to play at 1.25x.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Wendy
  • 19-03-18

Very English aristocratic mysteries.

Slow though interesting except for surprising anti-Semitic remarks in later stories. Next to last about politics was my great favorite and had heart. Also last story was fine.

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    3 out of 5 stars
  • A Snider
  • 06-12-17

Creative but hard to follow

Well-read but the text was disengaging. I use that word to illustrate. Too many awkwardly placed adjectives made following the story diffucult. I am a William Faulkner fan but would not try in an audio book. Chesterton was only slightly less difficult.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful