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The Complete Father Brown (Father Brown)

4.09 of 5 stars 4.09  ·  rating details  ·  3,856 ratings  ·  211 reviews
Forty-nine quietly sensational cases investigated by the high-priest of detective fiction
FATHER BROWN


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
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Paperback, 718 pages
Published January 6th 1987 by Penguin Books Limited (first published 1935)
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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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Amy
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!
Katie
Jun 05, 2008 Katie rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Emily
Recommended to Katie by: My mom
Oh my...how 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.
Rebecca
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
Tyas
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
Stefan
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
Anita
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.
Som
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Megan
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
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
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H. M. Snow
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
Jenn
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
Ari Joy
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,
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John
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
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Melinda
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
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Margo
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
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Cliff
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
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.
Richaro06
G.K. Chesterton is a masterful writer whose talents are perfectly displayed in The Complete Father Brown. This collection of short stories follows the diverse adventures of an insightful priest, Father Brown, who foils countless criminals with his powers of observation and deduction. G.K. Chesterton creates a believable setting, a gripping plot, and engaging characters all in a few short pages, pulling readers into the plot and sweeping them along to the astonishing ending of each story. I could ...more
Emmy
What a fun series! Who would have thought that a little Roman Catholic priest would make such a clever and delightful detective? Well, obviously GK Chesterton did, and I'm glad he gave Father Brown a chance. This collection, which contains two previously published books: The Innocence of Father Brown and The Wisdom of Father Brown is part one of two collections of the complete stories. Each story seemed to be more clever than the one before it, and each was so simple, so clever, that I was surpr ...more
Yossa
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
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Scott and Stephanie
Read and reread these mysteries. Appreciate Father Brown's insight into human nature and Chesterton's descriptions.
Joel
He's a catholic priest who solves mysteries. What more do you want?!!?!
Lise
Very boring and poorly written, this book is real disappointment. The fact that the stories have been written for publication in magazines rather than part of a book is very obvious: they have clearly been hastily written and poorly edited. And for anybody who liked the BBC series, it has neither the charm nor even any the main characters beside Father Brown. Some of the stories in the series do indeed come from the book (I haven't been able to finish it, so maybe I missed a few), but the plots ...more
Theresa Rice
Jul 20, 2014 Theresa Rice rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Everyone
I loved these stories. They were like Sherlock Holmes (it is impossible to read detective fiction without making that comparison) but with more of the common sense. Father Brown does not have fantastic chains of reasoning to lead to his conclusions; rather, he notices everything and everyone, and tries to fit it together.
" I was seasick," said Father Brown simply. "I felt horrible. But feeling horrible has nothing to do with not seeing things."
Chesterton makes his detective a Catholic priest, l
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Jen
At long, long last, I've finished this. It only took me, oh, seven years.

In my defense, most of that time was this riding around in my backseat or trunk as the book of choice for when I found myself in some waiting situation for which I had not planned. This is fantastic as a book in which you don't always have to remain engaged, as the stories are pretty short and mostly unconnected (as long as you remember Father Brown and some of his recurring friends). Also in my defense, this is actually fi
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Jim Williams
I was reading a book on the occult sciences when I ran across a quote from Chesterton's The Dagger with Wings and although I don't read mysteries, I was intrigued. I found a copy of The Complete Father Brown and read the story. That did not satisfy the questions I had about the quote and I continued reading the stories. I read the Sign of the Broken Sword and got hooked into finishing the book. It is a difficult read if you are not familiar with older English customs and phrases, but worth the e ...more
Justin  K. Rivers
The Father Brown stories are brilliant and unique in mystery lit. Chesterton's vast imagination is supported by his usual wit and obsession with paradox. At the heart of the stories lies an understated anti-hero. With the character of Father Brown, Chesterton avoids the melodramatic extremes of Poirot or Holmes, and yet does not provide us with the psychological intimacy in the way Simenon does with Maigret. It's an interesting mixture, and I think mystery fans will enjoy that the mysteries them ...more
Jennifer
I LOVE this collection of short stories. To me, they are best read in fall and winter, when the light reflects the skies that Chesterton describes so vividly. In fact, that is my favorite part of these books! Chesterton cleverly uses light and color in every story. There are almost eery descriptions of the British landscapes that match the mood and evoke the themes: shadows and jewel tones that reveal the hidden self... the golden hues that speak of glory in the mundane... and the clear brightne ...more
Christopher Bunn
I find myself reading Chesterton's Father Brown stories very slowly. Not because they're boring or poorly written. On the contrary. Chesterton is an incredibly adept writer. He had an amazing facility with the English language, surpassed by very few. Rather, I end up reading the stories slowly because there is so much layered meaning in them, wonderful turns of phrase that must be savored like sipping wine.

I've been a fan of Chesterton for a long time, ever since reading The Man Who Was Thursday
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Gavin
The Complete Father Brown has the five published books of his stories together with one loose story published other than in the original books. This volume is not something to be read through in one shot, but rather to be savoured. With that in mind I have now completed the second of the five books.

One minor complaint is that I wish there was a little more to each of the stories, that is in terms of how Father Brown puts things together. His explanations are a little hurried at times. Notwithsta
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Lora
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
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Watching The Dete...: Father Brown on TV - any questions? 2 5 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 (5 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)
Orthodoxy The Man Who Was Thursday The Innocence of Father Brown (Father Brown, #1) The Everlasting Man The Man Who Knew Too Much

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“No,” said the other priest; “reason is always reasonable, even in the last limbo, in the lost borderland of things. I know that people charge the Church with lowering reason, but it is just the other way. Alone on earth, the Church makes reason really supreme. Alone on earth, the Church affirms that God himself is bound by reason.” 0 likes
“In short, there is in life an element of elfin coincidence which people reckoning on the prosaic may perpetually miss.” 0 likes
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