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The Club of Queer Trades by G. K. Chesterton

The Club of Queer Trades (1905)

by G. K. Chesterton

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
8022018,371 (3.83)38
Equally well-known for his sophisticated philosophy tracts and his top-notch detective fiction, G.K. Chesterton was himself something of a literary jack-of-all-trades. This beloved collection of detective stories and mysteries is based on a club that is only open to those who rely on unusual or extraordinary lines of work as their main source of income. A fast-paced, purely enjoyable collection that is sure to tickle the fancy of classic detective fiction fans.… (more)



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» See also 38 mentions

English (18)  Spanish (2)  All languages (20)
Showing 1-5 of 18 (next | show all)
Not one of Chesterton's best. Plots not uninteresting, but execution far too verbose. ( )
  Stravaiger64 | Aug 27, 2019 |
El Club de los Negocios Raros está compuesto por seis narraciones que ejemplifican todos los méritos que hicieron destacar la figura de Chesterton y todas ellas giran alrededor de un oscuro y pintoresco Club, para pertenecer al cual es necesario haber inventado una profesión o industria absolutamente nueva. ( )
  valeskaka | Nov 15, 2018 |
A short collection of quaint stories featuring Basil Grant, an eccentric, a former judge and current hermit. The narrator is his friend and tells us of conundrum's that Basil gets himself involved in and must solve. Halfway through Basil's brother Rupert who is an amateur detective and even more eccentric joins in the fun. Much more light-hearted than Father Brown stories. None of the stories features the club of queer trades but we are introduced to it in the first story and each subsequent story has a tie to the club.

1) The Tremendous Adventures of Major Brown - A highly interesting tale of mistaken identity and man's natural need to seek out adventure. Just long enough to get interested in the characters and the solution to the mystery was good fun. Loved the brief tongue-in-cheek mentions of both Sherlock Holmes and Father Brown. Great story to start the collection. (5/5)

2. The Painful Fall of a Great Reputation - This was a bit tedious to read being mostly a conversation, or two, solely consisting of witty repartee. Said repartee being the plot of the story it is not out of place but much of it is of its own times making parts hard to "get" for a modern reader. However, there were quite a few quotable gems as is usual to be found in Chesterton's writings. (2/5)

3. The Awful Reason of the Vicar's Visit - So this time around our narrator relates his own story as he is visited by a vicar with a most outrageous story of being forced at gunpoint to dress up as a little old lady. Basil comes in near the end to solve the shenanigans going on and we are introduced to a new trade worthy of the Club. (4/5)

4. The Singular Speculation of the House-Agent - This is a farce. As usual, we have our narrator and Basil, but joining them this time is Basil's brother Rupert who is even more of a character than Basil. Rupert is an amateur detective and is suspicious of everything, putting facts together and coming up with totally wild deductions. This time he's just met Basil's adventurous friend and immediately distrusts him and tries to convince Basil he is a thief and a scoundrel. It was a lot of fun but I figured it out way before the characters did. (4/5)

5. The Noticeable Conduct of Professor Chadd - A strange story of a man who goes mad after a lot of witty repartee questioning his profession. He then ends up with a job worthy of the Queer Trades Club. Silly, really (3/5)

6. The Eccentric Seclusion of the Old Lady - The narrator and Basil hear a womaning moaning to be let out but when they find and try to rescue her she refuses to leave her prison. This starts off the finishing events which ties all the previous stories together and we finally get a glimpse of "The Club of Queer Trades". (4/5) ( )
  ElizaJane | Nov 15, 2017 |
It is always a pleasure to re-read this beautifully craft collection of co-detective stories; the prefix here could stand for the two brothers Basil and Rupert Grant, but more interestingly for the stories themselves: they are (as hinted in http://www.chesterton.org/lecture-7/) dual to classical detective fiction. We won't find the classical unraveling of a crime through a clever use of the presented facts, but a clever presentation of facts, which will be unraveled by Basil showing that there was actually no crime at all.

Basil Grant and the whole set read like the bright opposite Horne Fisher and the dark "The man who knew too much". ( )
  eparejatobes | Jan 25, 2017 |
There are a few good quotes in this collection of short stories with a common theme and main characters. If you guess the mystery in the story, however, there is not enough left---say, character development or moral questions---of much interest. A Club member must "have invented the method by which he earns his living." The stories are about the members and the queer trades they have come up with.

The stories are:
The Tremendous Adventures of Major Brown
The Painful Fall of a Great Reputation
The Awful Reason of the Vicar's Visit
The Singular Speculation of the House-Agent
The Noticeable Conduct of Professor Chadd
The Eccentric Seclusion of the Old Lady

Some quotes:
"A fine chap, that Major; when one hasn't a touch of the poet one stands some chance of being a poem." [p. 24, "The Tremendous Adventures of Major Brown"]

"Truth must of necessity be stranger than fiction," said Basil placidly. "For fiction is the creation of the human mind, and therefore is congenial to it." [p. 67, "The Singular Speculation of the House-Agent"]

I had met Grant [for the first time]... and exchanged a few words about the weather. Then we had talked for about an hour about politics and God; for men always talk about the most important things to total strangers. It is because in the total stranger we perceive man himself; the image of God is not disguised by resemblances to an uncle or doubts of the wisdom of a moustache. [p. 90, "The Noticeable Conduct of Professor Chadd] ( )
  raizel | Dec 6, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 18 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (13 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Chesterton, G. K.primary authorall editionsconfirmed
Gardner, MartinIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Rabelais, or his wild illustrator Gustave Dore, must have had something to do with the designing of the things called flats in England and America.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Foreword by Gilbert Adair

Also has the essay "A Defence of Detective Stories"
Haiku summary
Unique professions—
"Queer Trades"— bring innovative
mayhem to London.

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Average: (3.83)
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2 5
2.5 4
3 36
3.5 11
4 55
4.5 6
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