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The Complete Father Brown (Father Brown #1 - 5)

4.08  ·  Rating Details  ·  5,000 Ratings  ·  269 Reviews
Forty-nine quietly sensational cases investigated by the high-priest of detective fiction

Immortalized in these famous stories, G.K. Chesterton's endearing amateur sleuth has entertained countless generations of readers. For, ss his admirers know, Father Brown's cherubic face and unworldly simplicity, his glasses and his huge umbrella, disguise a quite uncanny u
Paperback, 718 pages
Published January 6th 1987 by Penguin Books Limited (first published 1910)
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Phil It's a good question? I wonder the same thing? He has been unfairly accused of Antisemitism and that puts people off without investigating for…moreIt's a good question? I wonder the same thing? He has been unfairly accused of Antisemitism and that puts people off without investigating for themselves sometimes. For the record, he was NOT. His warnings of the dangers of eugenics was almost prophetic - yet we have not learned!(less)

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Feb 19, 2016 Amy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
The omnibus is the exhaustive collection of G.K. Chesterton's Father Brown short stories. If you've got a taste for detective stories and clever, British tones, then you'll love it. The omnibus is huge and I've been working through it for about 8 months. Take it a story at a time with a cup of hot tea and low lighting!
I feel kind of harsh giving this book 2 stars, since I really enjoyed the first five stories, which were the ones I was reading for university. In fact, I enjoyed them so much I decided to carry on reading this 700-odd page anthology, even though the required reading for the module was only the first 125pp or so. Taken on its own, Book 1, "The Innocence of Father Brown", would have easily earned an extra star or two from me. Book 2, "The Wisdom of Father Brown", was still fun to read, but I foun ...more
Jun 05, 2008 Katie rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Emily
Recommended to Katie by: My mom
Oh much do I love Father Brown? I don't have a crush on him like I do on Lord Peter Wimsey, but he's so wise and compassionate and unassuming that I wish he was my priest. Not that I have a priest, or would really know what to do if I did. But that's how much I like him.
Jan 29, 2009 Megan rated it really liked it
Father Brown is to psychology what Sherlock Holmes is to material evidence. Re-reading these last Fall, I found that the chief pleasure and merit of the Father Brown mystery stories is getting inside the mind of Chesterton himself. The stories themselves are uneven in worth -- I got the impression that Chesterton churned them out, occasionally pausing over insurmountable implausibilities and plot defects but then just moving on with a shrug. Even so, they are fully as clever as any television de ...more
Aug 31, 2008 Tyas rated it really liked it
Father Brown is a Catholic priest who somehow always gets involved in crime - as the one who solves the case, of course. But Father Brown doesn't seem to have logical methods like Sherlock Holmes, or Hercule Poirot, perhaps. In fact he oftentimes looks like a dreamy, absent-minded clergyman whose words nobody may understand. Several times people think he has known who the culprit is and is telling them to capture the man - when all he's saying is that the man is a witness or somebody who knows m ...more
May 13, 2009 Stefan rated it it was amazing
Father Brown is one of my favourite fictional detectives because G. K. Chesterton embodied him with a wonderful sense of time and place. The strength of Chesterton's Father Brown stories lie in their diversity (brilliant, contemplative and bizarre - sometimes all at once) consistent cleverness and wide range of themes (far more depth then I usually expect from mysteries). 'The Complete Father Brown' is a volume packed with so much top-notch quality material that one read really only captures the ...more
Aug 16, 2011 Jenn rated it it was ok
Wow. I picked up this book because I was enjoy mysteries that are neither cozy nor thrillers, so I find that older mysteries are more to my taste. However, I didn't really enjoy these at all. While I thought some of the solutions were problematic, as in "The Invisible Man", and I was put off by the fact that people kept getting killed right under Father Brown's nose, my main problem was with the tone of the stories. A short, incomplete list of people who might be offended by these stories includ ...more
I so enjoy dipping into these time and again. One brief story before I have to cook supper; one story before bed. A story read out loud to change the mood of intractable children; one story to remind me again of the forgotten joy of being human.
Sometimes I read reviews of older literature and someone is often angsting about the book offending entire classes of people. I find I would rather read an old book that assumes women are weak than a new book that assumes they must be sexually aggressive
Dec 14, 2015 Anita rated it liked it
Shelves: theo
Chesterton made a man who is sharp-witted, dreamy, kind, hard, dumpy, odd, lovable... in short, who takes my attention and holds it tight. I LIKE Father Brown. I would love to be stuck next to him on a long airplane ride with nothing to do but talk.
There is nothing of the thriller about these mysteries. They are more pretty descriptions, a plot twist, and a philosophical musing, generally. They aren't keep-you-up-late stories, so much as curl-up-with-tea stories. But I like that in them, too.
Jonathan Westbrook
After listening to one of the audio plays on my mp3 player, I thought I would read this quintessential little English priest's adventures through the world of crime. Been putting if off for a while but decided a new year would be a great time to start it.
Only after realizing that each story was just a few pages long, it was just one story after another of some little priest jumping to conclusions and everyone, including the culprit, just assuming God's man knows best and either giving themselv
Wow, that was a LOT of stories...
Father Brown makes for a fascinating counterpoint to Sherlock Holmes. Whereas Holmes uses cold logic and hard facts to solve mysteries, Father Brown relies on his intuition, his knowledge of the human condition, and his ability to imagine himself in other people's shoes. Holmes is tall and lean, while Brown is short and stocky. Holmes projects a sense of unmatchable competence, whereas Brown initially strikes people as a bumbler, possibly even a fool. Holmes is d
Apr 18, 2015 Janellyn51 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I did it, I read the whole thing! Short stories can be sort of disruptive to your brain. It takes a page or two to get the gist and then it's over in 10 or 15. There's a ton of stories in this omnibus of 813 pages, It's almost that by the time you've read the next story, you've forgotten what the previous story was about. But you do have the common thread of Father Brown. I did want to read this because I fell in love with the Father Brown series no PBS. I love Syd the chauffeur, and the Lady an ...more
H. M. Snow
Dec 11, 2012 H. M. Snow rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Father Brown is one of those fictional detectives you read and reread more for the philosophy than the mystery. As a short-story mystery writer, Chesterton doesn't "play fair"; he doesn't give the reader all the clues all the time. Often, you'll know who the criminal is before the crime has been committed. But Father Brown will continue as a classic for those who enjoy Chesterton's nonfiction, because he stands as the embodiment of those writings. He solves crimes in his head, not by the physica ...more
Ari Joy
Jul 27, 2013 Ari Joy rated it it was amazing
I'm a little sad that I've finished it, since it was the complete Father Brown. The last time I went to read it I hated it; I found it priggish, and overly concerned with darkness. But now, I guess, it reads to me like someone who might feel the world has forgotten what sin is; has forgotten what the snarls of the human soul can be like and get to, in the worst of times. Have we really forgotten so well?
I don't like to think of sin, but Father Brown makes me think of it in the most prosaic way,
Nov 26, 2008 John rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Tastes change; I find that I don't enjoy the Father Brown stories as much as I used to, or as much as I thought I did.
I'm still a fan of G.K. Chesterton, and I do enjoy his invention of the dumpy little priest (we're never told his first name) who is able to solve crimes because he understands the criminal mind because he has heard it all in confession.
The stories get a little too fantastical for my tastes. Also, in a couple of them, language is used that is unacceptable by today's standards. It
May 19, 2009 Melinda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm partway through the first section of these short stories. I wish I owned the book so I could finish it. It's huge and not designed to be read at a single sitting. Each mystery deserves to be savored alone. For this reason it makes a great book to put in the throne room (bathroom).

I probably won't get to finish it this time around, but when I find a copy at a yardsale I'll know to pick it up. And since the library has it, I may check it out again.

The psychological factors Father Brown underst
Bianca Klein Haneveld
This would have been 5 stars if Chesterton would not have taken quite a few prejudices of his day and time as a given. When the stories contain views about other religions than christianity or are about other cultures than the western ones, these tend to be jarring.
But the plots are impeccable, the humor is great, the observations in other instances are sharp and about our own culture the book shows a lot of wisdom. I couldn't put it down. Father Brown is a lovable, wonderful character.
I am glad
Todd Stockslager
Mar 28, 2016 Todd Stockslager rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
Review Title: Parables of crime

It is interesting that the most well known of Chesterton's writings today are these slight short story mysteries and not his more serious literary, theological or political writings. But then again, perhaps it is both inevitable and not so lamentable, for these stories contain the germ of all his other writing in parable form. So while readers may be voting with their eyes to read the lesser work, they are still drinking from the same deep pool of thought, and that
Ана Хелс
Oct 17, 2015 Ана Хелс rated it liked it
Страстта ми към криминалните истории с мистично – невъзможностен уклон се зароди някъде около дванадесетата ми годинка, когато открих магията на Агата Кристи и Шекспир едновременно, и някак се затъжих за симптоматично загубения предишен живот в отвъден Албион. И освен По, Дойл, Хюлик, Льору и Стивънсън, и в известен смисъл Акунин, не-фентъзи частта в личната ми библиотека си остава доста постна. Може би защото си имам специфични изисквания за това, къде, как и защо трябва да се случва една крими ...more
Aug 18, 2015 TomF rated it really liked it
The Innocence of Father Brown & The Wisdom of Father Brown

I loved these offbeat and eccentric twists on the detective story, for their jumbled yet judiciously assembled plot styles, and most of all for their painterly perceptions and presentations of humanity and his environs. GK Chesterton may have an awkward name to say, but he translates the world freely and colourfully to the page.

The Christian-centric internal world we inhabit while living alongside Father Brown is rarely alienating to
Jun 28, 2015 Davidg rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
After struggling through James Runcie's first book, I decided to return to the source. Starting with the last book, I worked my way through the entire series, one story a night before turning the light off. One advantage of starting nearer the end was that the stories were less familiar and meant that I saw them in a new light.

The first thought that struck me was that Father Brown does not exist in the real world. Nowadays authors spend much time in giving a sense of place, in giving their chara
Ea Solinas
Father Brown is first introduced to readers as a kindly, clumsy little priest who prattles naively about the valuables he's toting, and keeps dropping his umbrella.

But appearances, G.K. Chesterton reminds us, are deceptive. "The Complete Father Brown Stories" brings together the complete collection of stories about the kindly, eccentric detective who has an uncanny cleverness that nobody guesses. Chesterton wraps each story in his warm, sometimes entrancing writing and a very odd assortment of c
Jul 25, 2014 Margo rated it liked it
First of all this is a brilliant edition and if you like short stories and detective fiction I think this offers great value for money.
Father Brown is a likable codger and he gets the case solved quick.
There is a great variety of settings in these stories and GK Chesterton has an understated descriptive style.
The denouements are the reason to read these stories and I'd say the majority really pay off.

However the reason I'm only giving Father Brown 3 is because there is a lot of national stereot
Jul 19, 2014 Cliff rated it liked it
I feel a bit mean in giving this only three stars, but really are the Father Brown stories really that good. I first read them over 50 years ago and on this re reading remembered nothing - apart from the famous postman. Let's think about that first. The story as is well known hangs on the fact that nobody noticed the postman enter the building where the crime was committed. Now I just don't buy that. If a person were asked if anyone had entered a building, surely the answer would be no one excep ...more
Tim Gannon
Oct 10, 2012 Tim Gannon rated it it was ok
Shelves: mystery
Oh man, this was a little painful. This author was mentioned in another book I was reading. They indicated that this British author was one of the most influential of the first half of the 20th century. He has written over 100 books on varied subjects. I thought I would check it out. I found it simple, slow, no depth. It seemed to be written for young children. I guess that mystery novels have changed over the past 100 years and I am more a fan of present day writing for this genre.
Apr 21, 2014 Yossa rated it it was amazing
The Father Brown series is not your typical whodunit, neither is Father Brown your typical sleuth. Chesterton is making a statement when he makes his protagonist a Roman Catholic priest, like Chesterton loves to do, to turn over words and concepts on their heads. The criminologist and Father Brown see the same set of facts and the criminologist concludes an elaborate crime has been committed, while Father Brown sees a harmless mishap has happened.
This is not to say that Holmesian deduction scien
Vivek Mathews
Oct 13, 2015 Vivek Mathews rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"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?"

It is very rare indeed that an author resorts to justifying the intellectual capabilities of his protagonist in the words of the protagonist himself. Then again Father Brown is no conventional amateur. He is an extraordinarily brilliant and imaginative priest who draws on the wisdom of his experience in the confessional and parish life. First time readers might
May 07, 2015 Catherine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This isn't a book to sit down and read through but something you want to dip into as the mood presents. It is a collection of all of the short stories that together comprise the Father Brown books. Delightful! I did try to listen to a couple of them via audio-cds and was disappointed. I normally like listening to books in my car but just didn't care for the voice actor's representation.
Chucky Quemado
Jan 02, 2016 Chucky Quemado rated it it was amazing
Judging from the title, and also from its truly Catholic author, one may presume that the book would be about Theological facts, Philosophical queries, or Apologetic arguments. Instead of all these plausible assumptions, Chesterton gives us a novel of suspense with a touch of comedy, portraying a different kind of Sherlock Holmes in the persona of Father Brown, a short, simple priest with the uncanny ability of solving crimes and mysteries. But unlike the regular “arrest the bad guy” kind of cha ...more
May 08, 2016 Kaila rated it did not like it
Shelves: didn-t-finish
103 pages in and I see no reason to read any further. I dislike not finishing books, although as I get older I find myself doing so more and more - there are too many books out there to be read, that reading one that isn't my cup of tea seems silly.

I'd initially been reading this book slowly due to the small font size and tired eyes, however by this point I was just bored. The stories, to a degree, were tedious, and while I did enjoy the first few stories, my enjoyment has been waning since the
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Watching The Dete...: Father Brown on TV - any questions? 2 6 Oct 18, 2012 01:30PM  
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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
More about G.K. Chesterton...

Other Books in the Series

Father Brown (7 books)
  • The Innocence of Father Brown (Father Brown, #1)
  • The Wisdom of Father Brown (Father Brown, #2)
  • The Incredulity of Father Brown (Father Brown, #3)
  • The Secret of Father Brown (Father Brown, #4)
  • The Scandal of Father Brown (Father Brown, #5)
  • The Collected Works of G.K. Chesterton, Volume 12: The Father Brown Stories, Volume I
  • Father Brown: The Collected Works of Father Brown

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“It really is more natural to believe a preternatural story, that deals with things we don’t understand, than a natural story that contradicts things we do understand. Tell me that the great Mr Gladstone, in his last hours, was haunted by the ghost of Parnell, and I will be agnostic about it. But tell me that Mr Gladstone, when first presented to Queen Victoria, wore his hat in her drawing-room and slapped her on the back and offered her a cigar, and I am not agnostic at all. That is not impossible; it’s only incredible. But I’m much more certain it didn’t happen than that Parnell’s ghost didn’t appear; because it violates the laws of the world I do understand.” 0 likes
“You are my only friend in the world, and I want to talk to you. Or, perhaps, be silent with you.” 0 likes
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