The Detective Fiction of G.K. Chesterton

“Father Brown is, happily, never called in to solve any ordinary mystery.  His cases are strange, unusual, sometimes with rather eerie complications, but his solutions are always worthy of them, for however odd or incredible or bizarre may be the difficulties with which the tubby little man with his shapeless umbrella may be faced Mr. Chesterton sees to it that his creation is consistently true to type in handling them without the assistance of the measuring tapes or microscopes so necessary to lay investigators.”

Times Literary Supplement, 29th September 1927

“…Though Father Brown works on occasion by pure intuition of character or by elliptic processes of thought that would make him a menace if he were a real detective, there is usually a genuine idea behind the illogical structure, an idea for which many writers of laboriously reasoned detective stories would be grateful.”


Times Literary Supplement, 28th March 1935

Uniquely brilliant and superbly written, at once terrifying and hilarious, the detective short stories of G.K. Chesterton are in a class of their own. Father Brown, the little priest from Cobhole, Essex, is without any doubt one of the best-loved detectives in fiction, seemingly mild and harmless, but concealing an intensity of purpose behind his absent-minded gaze. Chesterton's influence was stronger than any other writer except Conan Doyle and R. Austin Freeman during the Golden Age: John Dickson Carr modelled his impossible crimes and his detective on G.K. Chesterton, and Agatha Christie's audacious reversal of the situation is Chestertonian in origin.


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These pages copyright Nicholas Lester Fuller, 2001--2002. Created 6 December 2002.