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The Incredulity of Father Brown by G. K.…
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The Incredulity of Father Brown (1926)

by G. K. Chesterton

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446637,979 (3.8)16
The third volume of stories featuring the cunning clerical sleuth Father Brown. Ahead of a new series of the popular BBC adaptation starring Mark Williams, all five of Chesterton's original Father Brown books have been republished with charming and collectible Penguin covers. 'That sort of thing may be very well for crypts and cloisters and all sorts of moonshiny places. But ghosts can't get through a closed door in an American hotel.' Father Brown, the shrewd and modest clerical detective, encounters miracles, ghosts and prophets in this third volume of ingeniously plotted tales. From South America to New York, his keen observation and quiet wisdom are a match for any mystery - even when he finds himself missing, presumed dead, in his own coffin ... G. K. Chesterton was born in 1874. He attended the Slade School of Art, where he appears to have suffered a nervous breakdown, before turning his hand to journalism. A prolific writer throughout his life, his best- known books include The Napoleon of Notting Hill (1904), The Man Who Knew Too Much (1922), The Man Who Was Thursday (1908) and the Father Brown stories. Chesterton converted to Roman Catholicism in 1922 and died in 1938. 'Chesterton knew how to make the most of a detective story' Jorge Luis Borges… (more)

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English (5)  Spanish (1)  All languages (6)
Showing 5 of 5
This is the third in the series of Father Brown books. I read the first two back in 2011. The first was ok, the second, meh. But I thought to read some more because my spouse has taken up watching Father Brown videos, on our son's Netflix account, in the middle of the afternoon. Sometimes she even cons me into joining her at the computer. I'm beginning to be drawn in. I suspect there is virtually no similarity between the books and the videos, except for the main character's being a Roman Catholic priest who carries an umbrella around. For one thing, the videos are set well after WWII, whereas the first two books in the series were written before WWI. This, the third in the series of five, short-story books came out in the 192os.

The common theme of the stories in this volume is that someone dies in a way that seems to indicate a supernatural cause. Everyone jumps to the supernatural conclusion...except Father Brown. Now, Father Brown, being a Roman Catholic priest, does fervently believe in some things we might consider supernatural. But he's not much taken in by superstition, and generally looks for a practical answer to the conundrum of the moment.

I think I liked this series of stories better than I liked the second series, but I can no longer be sure because it was 7 years ago that I read, and declared myself to be unimpressed by, those stories. These were ok, but I find short stories difficult to read. Basically, if one can't read them in one sitting, it's way too easy to lose the thread. Novels are much easier to grasp because one naturally lives with them for several days, and also because a single chapter or two is much easier to finish in a single sitting than is a short story such as one of these. Perhaps it's my age, or the fact that I read at only half the speed for success in college, but I'm heading back to a nice juicy novel.

( )
  lgpiper | Jun 21, 2019 |
As far as mysteries go, I found the stories in this collection to be a bit hit-or-miss. Some of the solutions were a bit of hide-the-ball, that required a bit of specialized knowledge. The real benefit here is the storytelling, and the settings that Chesterton sets up, which do have their entertainment value. The lead character himself can, incredibly, be a cipher at times. Good, though not as good as some other stories of the same vintage. ( )
  EricCostello | Nov 9, 2018 |
Intelligent and witty tales of murder with the priestly ancestor of Columbo on hand to save the day every time. Short, engaging stories well worth reading. Well written and very effectively told. Makes me want to go out and read more Father Brown at some later date. ( )
  PaulBaldowski | Jan 24, 2015 |
More stories from GKC where the modest and humble priest proves himself wiser in human nature and more rational than others when disentangling seeming supernatural murders. ( )
  Figgles | Jul 17, 2013 |
Showing 5 of 5
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To Patricia Burke
First words
There was a brief period during which Father Brown enjoyed, or rather did not enjoy, something like fame. ("The Resurrection of Father Brown")
It is to be feared that about a hundred detective stories have begun with the discovery that an American millionaire has been murdered; an event which is, for some reason, treated as a sort of calamity. ("The Arrow of Heaven")
'Yes,' said Father Brown, 'I always like a dog, so long as he isn't spelt backwards.' ("The Oracle of the Dog")
Moon Crescent was meant in a sense to be as romantic as its name; and the things that happened there were romantic enough in their way. ("The Miracle of Moon Crescent")
Six people sat round a small table, seeming almost as incongruous and accidental as if they had been shipwrecked separately on the same small desert island. ("The Curse of the Golden Cross")
Quotations
He found himself insensibly watching that commonplace and even comic black figure as it went bustling about; watching it with an almost morbid fascination, as if it were a walking riddle or contradiction. He had found something he could not help liking in the heart of everything he hated; it was as if he had been horribly tormented by lesser demons and then found that the Devil was quite an ordinary person.

Thus it happened that, looking out of his window on that moonlit night, he saw the Devil go by...
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