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

4.08  ·  Rating Details ·  5,303 Ratings  ·  287 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, as 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.
Jun 04, 2016 Kyle rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Father Brown is simply one of the best characters ever created--a blend of brilliance, joy, and simplicity. The stories are engaging, the endings are believable, sometimes even solvable, but never obviously predictable or boring. With five volumes, there are inevitably certain similarities in some stories, but Chesterton finds a way to make each story unique. The first two volumes ( The Innocence and Wisdom of Father Brown) are the best, but some excellent stories are sprinkled throughout the ot ...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
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 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
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
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
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,
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
Jul 09, 2016 Benjamin rated it really liked it
These stories are a sly combination of whodunit, social commentary, and theological reflection. The BBC series currently being shown on PBS is clearly interested only in the first of those three, and manages to avoid the other two by using only the figure of Father Brown, and none of Chesterton's actual stories. I suppose the writers for the series would find the social commentary out-of-date, as they have set the stories in a different period. Those same writers probably missed entirely the the ...more
Facundo Martin
I read many of these stories as a kid but I think I never finished the whole omnibus. This time I re-read some based on anthologies and recommendations.

I would like to give this book 4 stars but can't. One of the best things the Father Brown stories have going for them is the style. I've read Chesterton was an artist too and that really shows: his descriptions have the indefinite vibrancy of a watercolour painting and his characterizations brim with life. Sometimes he goes overboard and some pa
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
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
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
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
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
Deborah O'Carroll
An omnibus collection of all 5 books (plus an extra short story) of Father Brown, totaling 51 short stories in all, which I picked up when a friend was getting rid of some books. I just love the Father Brown stories! Especially the ones with criminal/criminal-turned-detective, Flambeau, who’s a great friend of Father Brown. I enjoy mysteries but I don’t usually have enough patience for a full novel-length one, so mystery short stories are my favorite, and these were all so unique and awesome. Fa ...more
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
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.
Jim Puskas
Jul 27, 2016 Jim Puskas rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime, mystery, noir
As detective stories go, Chesterton's fall into the category of charming oddities. No one could consider Father Brown to be the least bit credible as a character and I doubt that Chesterton expected his readers to take him seriously. These stories were meant purely for entertainment. There's almost never any heinous crime, let alone murder; in many cases, there's been no crime at all, just a situation that at first seems baffling, a little mystery to be explained. Father Brown has provided me wi ...more
Jun 28, 2016 Georgene rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
It took me forever to read this book. Whenever I run across a collection of short stories about the same character, I get bored with it after a short time. Then I will pick it up and occasionally read a story or two. That's why it took me 6 months to get through this ebook. I finally finished it on a trip to a family reunion. I took no other books than the ones on my Kindle app so I was able to finish several books on it. This was the first one I finished FINALLY!

The stories were mildly enterta
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
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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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“There’s another thing you’ve got to remember. You talk about these highbrows having a higher art and a more philosophical drama. But remember what a lot of the philosophy is! Remember what sort of conduct those highbrows often present to the highest! All about the Will to Power and the Right to Live and the Right to Experience — damned nonsense and more than damned nonsense — nonsense that can damn.” Father” 2 likes
“Do you remember what Douglas said when Marmion, his guest, offered to shake hands with him?” “Yes,” said Father Brown. “‘My castles are my king’s alone, from turret to foundation stone,’” said Musgrave. “‘The hand of Douglas is his own.’” He” 1 likes
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