Sunday, March 14, 2021

Innocence of Father Brown

The Innocence of Father Brown (Father Brown, #1)The Innocence of Father Brown 
by G.K. Chesterton
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Chesterton wrote (according to Wikipedia) 53 short stories in which Father Brown appears, beginning with "The Blue Cross" in 1910. That story is one of the dozen included in this collection. The character of Father Brown may be familiar from televison as there was a Masterpiece Mystery series and a more recent TV series featuring him.

I liked some of these stories more than others: "The Blue Cross" and "The Queer Feet" were favorites. I liked all of them better than Chesterton's The Man Who Was Thursday.  Father Brown is a funny character, often behaving in an absurd way, but ultimately showing himself to be quite observant. I read somewhere that he is intuitive, as opposed to the deductive approach of Sherlock Holmes, but I don't agree with that. His solving of the puzzles put to him seem solidly based in the fact that he pays attention to what is around him (footsteps in snow, bullets in floorboards, etc.) instead of assuming (as the police in these stories often do) that he knows things. 
"At a sufficiently delicate sign, the police gathered round the large man to lead hims away; but their unobtrusiveness was somewhat staggered by the remarkable appearance of Father Brown, who was on his hands and knees on the carpet in the doorway, as if engaged in some kind of undignified prayers. Being a person utterly insensible to the social figure he cut, her remained in this posture, but turned a bright round face up at the company, presenting the appearance of a quadruped with a very comic human head." --"The Three Tools of Death"
This collection was first published in 1911 and gives me a book published that year for my Century of Books project. This title is on my Classics Club List.

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