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The Secret of Father Brown (Father Brown #4)

4.03 of 5 stars 4.03  ·  rating details  ·  400 ratings  ·  30 reviews
Father Brown, an unassuming and shabbily dressed priest, possesses an incredible ability to solve crimes and murders. Here he reveals the secret of his success. He discovers the culprit by imagining himself to be inside the mind of the criminal. This fourth collection of Father Brown stories contains the magnificent ‘The Chief Mourner of Marne’—a fascinating story with une ...more
Paperback, TV tie-in edition, 176 pages
Published July 30th 1975 by Penguin Books (first published August 7th 1912)
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Jonathan
Nov 29, 2012 Jonathan rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone who loves quality writing, philosophy, faith discussion and short stories
Recommended to Jonathan by: Those writers influenced by his works

As I commented in my review of the best of collection, Father Brown: The Essential Tales, G.K. Chesterton was a writer of elegance and beauty. His work is so tightly written and plotted within each of his short stories that at times if you miss a single point you can find yourself missing some of the genius storytelling.

It is easy to see why the Father Brown Stories are Chesterton's most popular works in our modern times. They are absolute classics of the detective genre, written exquisitely wi
...more
Jim
I had thought that, after three volumes of short stories about that intrepid priest/detective, Father Brown, G K Chesterton would tire of his creation, with a resulting diminution in the quality of the stories. But, no, The Secret of Father Brown is as fresh as ever; and its author has instituted some interesting changes.

First of all, the stories are framed within a story in which an American writer comes to ask Father Brown about his "secret." The priest's answer startles him: "You see, it was
...more
F.R.
G.K. Chesterton’s tales of his humble little priest with “a harmless hobby of murder and robbery” continue to be a gentle joy. They certainly lack danger and suspense, and are probably best viewed from a kind of academic armchair detective’s perspective. There is no Sherlock Holmes adrenalin of charging out with the game afoot, but instead a sitting back and allowing a quiet and simple man to explain just what the game was and how it worked.

I don’t know how far the BBC show ‘Jonathan Creek’ has
...more
Carol Apple
I am not usually a reader of crime fiction, but I like G.K. Chesterton and thought I’d give Father Brown a try. I loved this collection of stories and especially enjoyed that each is really a philosophical or theological discussion. But if you are not into philosophy don’t be scared off: These stories are beautifully written, witty, exquisitely plotted, and populated with intriguing characters.

One of Chesterton’s principal philosophical propositions is that while strict materialism is bound by i
...more
Scott Lake
This story was supposedly published as a serial and it reads as such. It's a tidy 2-3 hour read at most, and has a bit of an unexpected ending that is somewhat clever. If you have an eReader, it's available at Manybooks.net and Gutenberg project.
Barbara
Eight brief tales reminding us that great storytelling doesn't need hundreds of pages, just a handful, to trigger the imagination.

Beautiful clipped and engaging prose frame engaging stories of crime with Chesterton/Brown showing that many things are not what they seem ... that appearances can deceive.

As an aside, reading these stories I am reminded that, for me, the Kenneth More interpretation of Father Brown is much truer to the books than a more recent version, and I could not help often heari
...more
Adam Graham
Have you wondered how the great detectives solved their cases? In The Secret of Father Brown, while visiting Flambeau's house Father Brown meets a curious American who has to know as some of his countrymen think Father Brown is using mystical powers. Father Brown offers his explanation:

"You see, I had murdered them all myself," explained Father Brown
patiently. "So, of course, I knew how it was done."

Grandison Chace had risen to his great height like a man lifted to the ceiling by a sort of sl
...more
Rex Libris
Fourth in the series of the Father Brown collections, we learn how Father Brown solves his cases. In an introductory and concluding chapter, our protagonist explains how he puts himself in the mind ofthe suspect and tries to think like him or her to see if that person would have motive or reason to commit the crime.

The eight short stories between are then conventional mysteries as found in the previous Father Brown anthologies. As always, the prose of chesterton is one of life's great pleasures.
Sandra
After reading any book of Chesterton, I get the same feeling "It was the best book I've ever read", and this is because you will always learn from them. I like to invest time in reading, but only if that time will become knowledge, wisdom, insights... Chesterton makes that possible. The best part of it, is that his writing is witty and whimsy thus you learn by being perfectly entertained.

This book is very strong from a philosophical point of view, this is because the main theme is the fact that
...more
Rosemary
I was rather underwhelmed by these stories. Agatha Christie has some very similar plots with a lot more drama. It could be argued that Father Brown came first, but for us reading today, it means that Chesterton's stories are rather too familiar and predictable. There's the disappearing ruby that is saved from being stolen; the man masquerading as heir to a fortune; the actor who is shot on stage; the exotic people from the East who turn out to be red herrings, etc. It’s amusing enough and I enjo ...more
Kurtbg
A murder mystery solving man of the cloth who happens to always be have mutual friends kilt. It's one of the hardest things to get right with mysteries... having the main character always be so involved with murder - unprofessionally. See The Coffee house series, Miss Marple, et al. The again, mysteries always seem to fall or fly based on "the twist". These twists are ok.
I felt the author wrote himself as every character. It's hard not to think it when they have the same initials.
Early 1900's
...more
Carol
Two thumbs up. Highest quality in mystery fiction.
John Carter
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Marti
Though I enjoyed this e-book volume more than the previous one, it was harder to read because my nook upon four or five occasions decided to backtrack, sometimes as many as 20-30 pages. This doesn't happen in an actual book, where the reader has marked the place with a bookmark. Perhaps my nook is deficient. At any rate, the stories seemed more interesting, I thought. It may be that I save the last book, The Scandal of Father Brown, for when I have nothing else left to read.
Gary
Less scientific than Sherlock, of greater solemnity than Lord Peter Wimsey. Lewis-style insights in a semi-comical sleuth!

Loved it.
Kathy  Petersen
I am not fond of short stories. Either I feel burdened to finish one in a single sitting, or it's over before my "reading time" is up. However the short story form is the only one Father Brown inhabits, and I wanted to renew my acquaintance with the thoughtful, intuitive detective in clerical garb. My sojourn with him was pleasant enough, but not enough to seek him out in the remainder of his appearances.
Jo
Another good Father Brown set of short stories. They all are so clever.
Silvio111
G.K. Chesterton was SO ahead of his time. Considering the rash of Sherlock pastiches that have appeared in the last ten years or so, this story was published in 1912! And Chesterton lampoons Sherlock so perfectly with his mousy little Father Brown! (Whom I love in all his other stories too.)

I listened to this story as an audio book on The Gutenburg Project online.
Courtney
Chesterton, G.K.
The Penguin Complete Father Brown

In compilation only.

1) The Secret of Father Brown
2) The Mirror of the Magistrate
3) The Man with Two Beards
4) The Song of the Flying Fish
5) The Actor and the Alibi
6) The Vanishing of Vaudrey
7) The Worst Crime in the World
8) The Red Moon of Meru
9) The Chief Mourner of Marne
10) The Secret of Flambeau
stormhawk
unlike the other collections, this one begins. and ends with a little wrap-around that purports to reveal secrets, but, Father Brown remains as inscrutable as ever, while being as open ss any man can be. There is more similarity between stories than in the previous collections, but each is a charming little treat.
Garrett
An amusing short story, and probably bundled in somewhere with other Father Brown mysteries. This is not the cleverest or smartest short story from Chesterton, but it's a nice and engaging read to begin the day over breakfast (as was in my case.)
Bill
I enjoyed it, but not my favourite series by any means. Maybe too thoughtful and too tame. Interesting mysteries, having said that.
Ania
I liked it. :) I particularly enjoyed the sideways nod to Sherlock Holmes. Kinda wish it was longer though!
Justin Brown
I loved Sherlock Holmes and when I read these the feeling was the same. Short and easy reads.
Nan Silvernail
Father Brown discusses his method, illustrating it with a few stories.

Rose
The start of "The Song of the Flying Fish" is hilarious.
Sean
Excellent! Best of the series thus far.
Steve Smoot
still more religious but good
Joseph
OK OK... interesting stories but detective has habit of miraculously pulling interpretation out of air...
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Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936) was born in London, educated at St. Paul’s, and went to art school at University College London. In 1900, he was asked to contribute a few magazine articles on art criticism, and went on to become one of the most prolific writers of all time. He wrote a hundred books, contributions to 200 more, hundreds of poems, including the epic Ballad of the White Horse, fi ...more
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“Flambeau, once the most famous criminal in France and later a very private detective in England, had long retired from both professions. Some say a career of crime had left him with too many scruples for a career of detection. Anyhow, after a life of romantic escapes and tricks of evasion, he had ended at what some might consider an appropriate address; a castle in Spain. [...] Flambeau had casually and almost abruptly fallen in love with a Spanish lady, married and brought up a large family on a Spanish estate, without displaying any apparent desire to stray again beyond its borders.” 1 likes
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