Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Father Brown

I am a sucker for lists. Whenever someone puts out a top 100 anything I always make it a try to listen to, read, or watch everything that is one the list. Admittedly I tend to skip the ones I already know or just have no interest with. When I came upon the Top 50 Crime Writers To Read Before You Die I was pretty intrigued. I am a total mystery fan. The first novel I read on my own was Agatha Christie's "And Then There Were None" and have been hooked ever since. I have to admit I was suprised to see the first writer listed was G.K. Chesterton. Not so much for his talent or genious, he was an Inkling after all, but for the fact he is very overtly religious in his writing. He doesn't mince words nor try to hide below ground his ethic. In fact, it wouldn't suprise me if his most well known character, Father Brown, weren't his alter ego like Kilgore Trout is to Kurt Vonnegut. Very often this kindly priest uses faith, wisdom, and an uncanny understanding of the fallen nature of man to solve his crimes. Many times within a few minutes of the crime being committed, but for the sake of narrative they allow the search for the criminal continue. Primarily Chesterton wrote short stories so you won't even begin to get a good idea as to who this character is until after reading several stories. They are written more like a person telling annecdotes of an old friend which at times I found tiresome. I also notice how much like many crime writers they tend to cheat by not revealing information until the end that you'd have no way of ever knowing. Other times he followed a typical formula that made easy for me to figure out who did it. I am curious to read more of his stories to get a bigger picture not only of the little priest and Chesterton as well. A man of wit and intelligience that influenced C.S. Lewis. Also, I noticed that the priest never actually does any real work. He's always on vacation or travelling somewhere.

The Complete Father Brown Stories

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posted by Out Of Jersey | 5:18 AM


Blogger Chris said...

And Then There Were None is on my "Shelf of Fame" for books that are unreservedly excellent. And Father Brown? Love his stories! I wrote about this very link a little over a month ago at


Crime and mystery are my comfort books when I need a break from everything.

6:16 AM  
Blogger Jenn said...

I have a hard time enjoying READING mysteries, though I like watching them on PBS. ;) But Lord Peter Wimsey and Father Brown are great. Although you're right. What's with all the vacations?

3:55 PM  

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