✷ The Innocence of Father Brown Epub ✺ Author G.K. Chesterton – Wildlives.co
The Innocence of Father Brown, published in 1911, brings together the first twelve adventures of this character, a Catholic priest from Essex but at exercise in London, down, always in a cassock, wearing a large umbrella and a disconcerting insight about human wickedness.After this volume, the following The Wisdom of Father Brown 1914 , The Incredulity of Father Brown 1926 , The Secret of Father Brown 1927 and The Scandal of Father Brown 1935.Contrary to Sherlock Holmes, the methods of Father Brown tend to beintuitive than deductive, aided by his friend s experience Flambeau, a retired police. Chesterton is perhaps best known for his Father Brown stories, so I was deeply disappointed to find that they represent him at his preachy, intolerant worst If I d started here, instead of with the wonderfully weird and delightfully dark The Man Who Was Thursday and The Napoleon of Notting Hill, I would have had no desire to pick up anything by Chesterton again All of these stories seem to revolve around the irritatingly smug Father Brown proving that some type of non Christian is wrong wrong WRONG about everything, the poor, deluded, and occasionally murderous souls.Aside from being pious, preachy, and at times outright racist, these tales also just aren t very good from the detective story standpoint, either The Sherlock Holmes stories continue to be fascinating because Holmes is, because his relationship with Watson is, because the way he interacts with the world is Father Brown s character has less color than his name, and although Chesterton makes the occasional attempt at providing him with a sidekick, he s never truly given anyone to confide in or bounce off of, as Holmes has in Watson Father Brown is lost without his Boswell And he can stay there, as far as I m concerned. Chesterton Portrays Father Brown As A Short, Stumpy Roman Catholic Priest, With Shapeless Clothes And A Large Umbrella, And An Uncanny Insight Into Human Evil How In Tartarus, Cried Flambeau, Did You Ever Hear Of The Spiked Bracelet Oh, One S Little Flock, You Know Said Father Brown, Arching His Eyebrows Rather Blankly When I Was A Curate In Hartlepool, There Were Three Of Them With Spiked Bracelets Not Long After He Published Orthodoxy, G K Chesterton Moved From London To Beaconsfield, And Met Father O Connor O Connor Had A Shrewd Insight To The Darker Side Of Man S Nature And A Mild Appearance To Go With It And Together Those Came Together To Become Chesterton S Unassuming Father Brown Chesterton Loved The Character, And The Magazines He Wrote For Loved The Stories The Innocence Of Father Brown Was The First Collection Of Them, And It S A Great Lot Of Fun The Innocence of Father Brown Father Brown 1 , G.K ChestertonFather Brown is a fictional Roman Catholic priest and amateur detective who is featured in 53 short stories published between 1910 and 1936 written by English novelist G K Chesterton Father Brown solves mysteries and crimes using his intuition and keen understanding of human nature Chesterton describes Father Brown as a short, stumpy Roman Catholic priest, with shapeless clothes, a large umbrella, and an uncanny insight into human evil In The Head of Caesar he is formerly priest of Cobhole in Essex, and now working in London He makes his first appearance in the story The Blue Cross published in 1910 and continues to appear throughout fifty short stories in five volumes, with twostories discovered and published posthumously, often assisted in his crime solving by the reformed criminal M Hercule Flambeau 2005 1382 197 9647134991 20 If you haven t come across the Father Brown stories I m surprised how few reviews there are , then they are worth reading G.K Chesterton is muchentertaining than your average Christian apologist, and if only the basic assumption of these books actually were true then I would feel a lotsympathetic towards the Christian Church.Chesterton doesn t just want to convince you that Christianity is different from superstition in his universe, it s the opposite of superstition The idea in each story is always the same Something happens most often, a murder , and there is some plausible looking account which appeals to people s love of the supernatural or the inexplicable Ah yes everyone is saying Sometimes things are beyond our understanding, but you know you just know Then dumpy, prosaic Father Brown comes in, and finds a common sense way of looking at the facts which explains everything without any supernatural drama To give you a taste, the one I remember best is The Oracle of the Dog The rich old guy has been mysteriously stabbed No one can figure out how it could have happened there appears to be neither weapon nor opportunity But there is this strange thing with the dog Just about at the moment when his master would have died, the dog was playing down on the beach, running after sticks that one of the guests was throwing for him, and then he lets out this weird, unearthly howl Supernatural explanation The uncanny bond between dog and master Chesterton sets up the red herring with great skill, and I certainly fell for it But Father Brown is a clearer thinker, and knows what really tends to freak dogs out In fact, the guy on the beach is disposing of the murder weapon, a sword stick The dog howls because he can t retrieve it he s never seen a stick get thrown at the water and just sink It s amazing how often Chesterton manages to get you, even once you know what the twist is going to be and you re looking out for it He was a smart guy. Reading this reminded me all over again why I hate the Agatha Christie style of whodunnit where people commit bizarrely complicated murders for equally bizarre reasons Let s take the second story in the collection.M Valentin is the Chief of Police and also an atheist He hears a rumor that an American millionaire is going to donate his fortune to the Church of France Since he is a rabid atheist he sets out to murder the man before he can amend his will Let s pass over that central absurdity and focus on the method of murder.Valentin s plan is to1 Host a dinner party of a dozen people and invite the American to it.2 Steal the head of recently executed criminal and take it home.3 Murder the American by decapitation.4 Switch heads even though his deputy was at the execution and the dinner party.5 6 Get away with it.The stories also filled with the usual kind of the garden had unscalable walls so no one could have got in Ladders apparently hadn t been invented. Oh, Gilbert Keith, I adore you and you are wonderful.I read this collection of short stories in between deadlines, a story or two at a time first thing in the morning to help myself wake up As far as I am concerned, a Father Brown short story is a perfect amuse bouche for the mental faculties I guessed almost all of the answers before the big reveals, and many of them were ludicrously far fetched, but that doesn t matter That wasn t why I was reading it.Father Brown is a fantastic main character, who occasionally comes out with absolute gems He s religious, and clearly a vehicle for Chesterton s religious views Fortunately, he s also marvellousHow in blazes do you know all these horrors cried Flambeau.The shadow of a smile crossed the round, simple face of his clerical opponent Oh, by being a celibate simpleton, I suppose, he said Has it never struck you that a man who does next to nothing but hear men s real sins is not likely to be wholly unaware of human evil But, as a matter of fact, another part of my trade, too, made me sure you weren t a priest What asked the thief, almost gaping You attacked reason, said Father Brown It s bad theology Father Brown, as many people have pointed out, is an excellent counterpoint to my other favourite detectives, Poirot and Holmes, who deal in deduction and Cold Hard Facts These are stories with a heart and a lot of strong morality They don t preach, but the morality is just the foundation of the whole premise, and I found that very interesting, especially in contrast with the Fact fetishising of other classic detectives.Plus, the turn of phrase, oh my goodness Flambeau had stocked his boat with such things as his special philosophy considered necessary They reduced themselves, apparently, to four essentials tins of salmon, if he should want to eat loaded revolvers, if he should want to fight a bottle of brandy, presumably in case he should faint and a priest, presumably in case he should die.These stories are utterly, unashamedly absurd, not too taxing and fantastic fun to follow There is duelling and pantomime and messing about in boats and jewel theft I need them in my life Gilbert Keith, I adore you, don t ever change. Father Brown, being a short Catholic priest is the second most harmless detective after Miss Marple by Agatha Christie This is a collection of first short stories of his investigations While some of the situations are slightly artificial, I still like the ingenuity of some of his adversaries Flambeau, first and foremost Another thing of note most of the stories end with revealing of villain s identity without telling about his her capture If fact, in a couple of stories the bad guys definitely escaped from justice The book has slight theological undertones, as well as racist ones Please keep in mind when it was written It deserves 4 stars. My dad is currently watching the BBC series of Father Brown and after jokingly telling him how terrible the show seemed which it really didn t at all I decided to pick up Chesterton s first Father Brown collection to see how the stories compare to the show and because I love to sink my teeth into a good mystery tale occasionally The Innocence of Father Brown is a collection of interesting and sometimes surprising mystery short stories set in the early twentieth century The main character is the priest Father Brown who tries his hand as an amateur detective occasionally He doesn t really care about the true consequences of the law and often tries to figure out these crimes so he can save people in this world before they move on to the next The only other recurring character is Hercule Flambeau who is a world famous thief turned private detective and he became a good friend of Father Brown after their paths crossed numerous times Each of these tales takes about 20 minutes to complete often concluding with a Sherlock Holmes esque this is what really happened speech by the priest A good set of stories to dip into and I will check out the next collection asap. Chesterton was a contemporary of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and though he created his principal fictional sleuth, Father Brown, after Doyle had written the bulk of the Holmes canon, he can also claim a formative role though not nearly so important as Doyle s in the shaping of the genre Father Brown is the first but not the last in a tradition of men and women of the cloth who solve traditional mysteries, the lineal ancestor of such figures as Father Dowling and Brother Cadfael, and the first series sleuth who s an amateur, rather than a professional, detective Arising and set in the same late Victorian Edwardian British milieu, the two characters, Brown and Holmes, have some similarities Both are extremely smart, and have a capacity for minute observation and mental analysis of small but significant details that others tend to overlook Flambeau, the continuing character in most of these stories, who under Brown s benign influence transitions from thief to honest detective, comes to serve as a Watson like foil though not narrator for the priest detective The latter even occasionally smokes a pipe andrarely like Chesterton himself, though not like Holmes a cigar Like the mysteries of the Holmes canon, these stories are demanding intellectual puzzles, requiring a rationality of which the Neoclassicists would have heartily improved but they re also steeped in the Romantic tradition, with any number of macabre, exotic or even Gothic elements the spooky gloom of a Scottish castle as the storm wind howls, a swordfight to the death, a sinister Hindu fakir, a beheaded corpse, a religious cult, madness.There are also, however, significant differences Most importantly, Father Brown relies muchon intuition than Holmes does in this respect, Chesterton sometimes seems influencedby Henry James than by Doyle But Brown s intuition is grounded in his understanding of the dark side of human nature, gleaned as a confessor and a moral theologian, just as his knowledge of criminal techniques comes from years in the confessional in crime ridden urban slum parishes His priestly calling is thus not incidental to his sleuthing and it s often the vehicle for serious observations about philosophical and spiritual truth, which are lacking or much less prominent in the Holmes canon where both Holmes and Doyle have convictions much less definite than Chesterton s, and Brown s Both men like the intellectual challenge of solving mysteries but Brown isn t a hired detective, and his main interest is pastoral he wants the reformation of the offender, not necessarily punishment, and he never takes his knowledge to the police for that reason He does usually encourage the culprits to confess with mixed success Holmes extends a similar mercy in The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle, but it s not his normal operating procedure Where Holmes is assertive, flamboyant, and proud of his abilities though not vain , Brown is mild mannered, humble, and self effacing Chesterton s prose is something the reader is muchconscious of than Doyle s fulsome, orotund, rich in metaphor and similie and his muchvivid and lovingly detailed descriptions of the world around him are those of a writer who takes actual joy in the creation, founded in an appreciation of its Creator.The dozen stories here were all written in 1910 1911 most take place in or near Chesterton s native London A bare majority seven are murder mysteries two actually turn out to involve no crime at all, and the others are daring thefts or attempted thefts The Secret Garden is a noteworthy example of the first group, in that it involves an early variant on the locked room mystery the victim was dispatched in a garden attached to a house belonging to the Paris chief of police, no less , with no access save through the house, and the house has only one continuously guarded door so how did the victim get there A couple of cases turn on the mental inability of the class conscious British gentry of that era to notice servants menials as anythingthan part of the furniture a feature that Agatha Christie no doubt borrowed from Chesterton in her Poirot story The Yellow Irises The particular edition I read has extensive annotations by Chesterton scholar Martin Gardner hence, it s titled The Annotated Innocence of Father Brown first published in 1988 by Oxford Univ Press These are a mixed blessing Some of them provide interesting background matter, explanations of Edwardian terms, and textual variants, etc too many others explain the obvious, and some critical comments miss the boat I don t agree with Gardner s negative view of The Wrong Shape or the reason for it and while I agree that the reference to one fat Chinese sneer in The Three Tools of Death is racially insensitive and deplorable, I don t find a similar problem with any other language here The successful Jewish hotel owner in The Queer Feet isn t portrayed negatively because he s successful if Chesterton had never mentioned that a character was Jewish, we d no doubt hear complaints that Jews are invisible in his work And the bracketing of Jews with country squires, in a passing reference in The Flying Stars to groups that can be seen as distinct, is nodisparaging to Jews than to country squires a group Chesterton, given his social thought, probablyadmired than the reverse For readers interested in Chesterton scholarship, the value of this edition is enhanced by such features as a printing history of the stories here, and an over 20 page comprehensive bibliography of critical works on Chesterton in general and the Father Brown canon in particular.