The Man Who Knew Too Much
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The Man Who Knew Too Much

3.58 of 5 stars 3.58  ·  rating details  ·  2,463 ratings  ·  221 reviews
Horne Fisher, at home in British countryside or aristocratic manor, may know "almost everything, indeed, except the world he was living in" and catch the crook, but have to throw a big one back, otherwise "blow the whole tangle of society to hell with dynamite" or "knock us endways from Malta to Mandalay", end 1920s Empire.
1 The face in the target - First class shot kills...more
Kindle Edition, 184 pages
Published April 1st 1999 by Public Domain Books (first published 1922)
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Jonathan

G.K. Chesterton is an author who simply must be read by anyone fascinated by quality detective literature. Or literature in general for that matter. His insights into human nature, particular regarding morality, psychology and the soul or heart are profound. At the same time the mixture of wit, sarcasm, humour and paradox he weaves together is fascinatingly powerful.

To put it simply, Chesterton's writing is unique. Not unique as Mervyn Peake is unique in his word choice. Or unique in the way th...more
[Name Redacted By Goodreads Because Irrelevant to Review]
Amazingly cynical and subversive detective stories, of the sort I never would have expected from Chesterton!

The titular character gives himself that monicker because he is related to / friends with nearly all the important people in Britain, and therefore knows exactly how the country is REALLY run and how the legal system REALLY works. This inspires in him a sense of fatalism and resignation, as he sees the backroom deals, cover-ups and treachery which make the world go 'round, and he solves n...more
Julie Davis
Who knew these were short mystery stories instead of a long, possibly lame novel that was made into an exciting early movie in 1934 with Peter Lorre or a definitely lame 1956 movie with Doris Day singing all the time?

Not me, at least until listening to B.J. Harrison's excellent narration on The Classic Tales podcast.

These stories are great fun to listen to and occasionally solve. And even when I know whodunnit I don't know why they dunnit. Which is just as much fun to find out.
Karo
I guess this is a book that is worth some deeper research than just downloading it for free because it sounds vaguely important. And since that's clearly one of those shoulda things that never actually happen, this is going to be a poor excuse for a review.

First of all, it quickly dawned on me that it's actually a collection of short stories. A proper book would have told me that on the sleeve (and I would have promptly put it back), but ebooks are a mysterious entity without sleeves. ("Wait a m...more
James
An interesting collection of short story detective fiction. Very interesting, almost odd. But in a good way. They're short stories, so lighter on character development than a longer work, but you still pick up a pretty opinion on the main character after a couple of the stories. Almost likeable, but maybe with a little bit too much self-indulgent self-pity.

Horne Fisher is a man who knows too much. He wishes he didn't, but he does. And it's a curse. It's a curse because as he solves each case (wh...more
Ozoneocean
This was a good book.
It's definitely NOT about a "sleuth" or detective or anything of the sort. Horne Fisher puzzles out various murders and mysteries incidentally, these are never his main concern, to imagine that they are would indicate the most superficial reading of the novel. He is a man mired in the politics and intrigues of his family and the upper-crust of England, each "crime" and mystery simply serves to illustrate Fisher's brilliance, the way he sees "behind" things because of his wea...more
Sesana
Mixed feelings. On one hand, Chesterton's prose is often lovely (this is the first I've read from him) and a few of the mysteries are quite engaging. On the other hand, his detective character, Fisher, wasn't engaging for me, and I got tired of the collection's gimmick quickly: murders are intentionally covered up, or the wrong men charged with them, because of the political situation. And while that is a probably too realistic and chilling outcome the first few times, after awhile it makes the...more
Darwin8u
A collection of Chesterton detective stories revolving around Horne Fisher and his companion, political journalist Harold March. These stories have a lot of the same late Victorian/Edwardian flavor of Sherlock Holmes and Chesterton's own Father Brown stories. The reluctant, and moral protagonist of The Man Who Knew Too Much, however, is often forced by greater-good circumstance or a need to protect the best interests of England from revealing the killer or the culprit.

The strengths of these sto...more
Evgeny
This is a collection of eight short stories about a self-proclaimed man who knew too much Horne Fisher. His analytical skills are rival those of Sherlock Holmes; he also has a trusted sidekick like a proper private investigator. His Dr. Watson is a journalist Harold March. What is the catch? Fisher stumbles upon crimes in high society and he really knows too much do try doing something against each culprit whose identity he is able to figure out all the time without failing. These people are unt...more
Cphe
A collection of eight short mysteries, "whodunits", all connected by the same characters Horne Fisher and Harold March. Some of the short mysteries are better than others, a few quite defy belief and some are not politically correct by any means. The Face In The Target and The Vengence of the Statue were the two stronger mysteries in my opinion.

Not a great deal of characterisation, but wonderful for atmosphere, time and place.
Laurele
Eight stories featuring the title character, Home Fisher, a perceptive solver of crimes who does not indict his criminals, because he knows too much of the background story and the dangers into which the nation would fall if certain things were revealed. The stories:

"The Face in the Target"
"The Vanishing Prince"
"The Soul of the Schoolboy"
"The Bottomless Well"
"The Hole in the Wall"
"The Fad of the Fisherman"
"The Fool of the Family"
"The Vengeance of the Statue"
Perry Whitford
In these eight collected short stories about Horne Fisher, the eponymous 'Man Who Knew Two Much', he comes across as a languid, eccentric kind of amateur detective. Though he solves crimes and unravels mysteries with the best of them, this is not what distinguishes him.

What marks him out is the further knowledge he possesses about the wider context behind certain crimes:- the circumstances that will ensure a certain criminal is left unpunished, the scandal covered up to protect the career of a...more
Sylvester
In the same vein as the "Father Brown" mysteries, only with Horne Fisher - the man who knows too much - as the super-sleuth. That idea of knowing too much - about human nature, and about certain humans in particular - is carried throughout, and adds depth to the otherwise lighthearted mysteries. I liked these more than the "Father Brown" stories, and am impressed by the diversity of Chesterton's writings.
Lorraine Ray
This book is a collection of short stories in which have two men, Harold March and Horne Fisher, seek solutions to various mysterious happenings around the British Isles. The author thought of a fun premise--to have the "detectives" not apprehend any criminals because they "knew too much about how the world really was run."

There are some vivid images and atmosphere in The Man Who Knew Too Much; G.K. Chesterton was an art student before he became a writer. I especially liked the first scene of t...more
An Odd1
I'd rather be with a brave Sackett who fights for justice than a Fisher who throws back the big ones. Cannot push past rocky path to gem phrases. Quoted a few for your enjoyment.

In 8 short stories, Horne Fisher knows whodunit among jabber, some beautifully phrased, his "bald brow became abruptly corrugated" p 19. People drop in and out of the scene, chitchat, observe, gossip, more inconsequentials that sequentials, so facts are hard to ferret from impressions and feelings. Title subject Fisher k...more
Kevin
Not sure what I was expecting out of this one. I picked it off of Project Gutenberg's top 100 list thinking maybe it was related to the film of the same name. It's not, but since I've never seen the film, I'm not disappointed.

It's a series of "detective" stories that strike me as a little odd because there are very few of them that I think I might have been able to puzzle out on my own. Perhaps I'm coddled by modern authors holding my hand through every twist and leaving a phosphorescent trail o...more
Alyson
I went into this book blind; I had no idea what it was about, other than that someone may know too much of something or other. I think I enjoyed it even more that way. If it had been recommended, or if I knew all about it, I don't think it would have been as refreshing, surprising and original. If you want the same experience, stop reading reviews and just grab a free Kindle edition on Amazon :)

The book is made up of several brief accounts of strange and mysterious events witnessed/experienced...more
Christian Leonard Quale
The Man Who Knew Too Much is a collection of short stories revolving around... well, the man who knew too much, Horne Fisher. The stories are short murder mysteries in which Mr. Fisher figures out what has happened. The murders are all of a political nature, and much of the time Horne comes to the solution by knowing more than he would like to know about many things, including the many shady aspects of British politics and politicians. Much of the time the true nature of the crime has to be conc...more
Doug
This must have been a serialized series of crime stories with this non-detective who solved them. The edition (I read the 1922 original) also includes another series or perhaps a novella, called The Trees of Pride. There must be better stuff by Chesterton. These were facile and mostly uninteresting and written in a style largely unappealing to modern readers. They have little morals about patriotism and arrogance, but generally they're pretty uninteresting.
Josh Hamacher
I was expecting a collection of Holmesian mystery stories. Instead I was faced with what I assume is social satire, but of an age and a nation I'm not familiar with. The prose is dense, overly descriptive, and to my mind inelegant. The characters are one-dimensional and utterly unbelievable. I can't say I actively disliked this book, as parts of it were clever and entertaining, but finishing it definitely took a certain amount of willpower.
Joshua
What was so likable about this book of short mystery stories was the prose of G.K. Chesterton. Intelligent without the least sense of haughtiness. The words tripped along like a relaxed conversation among good friends. It is a good thing that the writing style is so pleasurable because I found the stories to be rather lightweight for mysteries. They seemed more curious narratives than challenging who-done-its.
Laura
Jan 18, 2014 Laura marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Laura by: Laurele
Free download available at Project Gutenberg.
Becca
A fan of G. K. Chesterton, I picked up The Man Who Knew Too Much in an attempt to expand my reading of his work. Although the story was far choppier than, say, The Man Who Was Thursday, his prose remained as delicious as always. Read it as a collection of short stories with a common theme rather than as a unified novel, and you'll be happier in its progression than I was at first.
Robert
Each of the eight chapters is a mostly stand-alone mini-mystery. Once I caught on, it was fun to try and figure out who the murderer was before the answer is given at the end. Some are missing key info until the end, some are laden with English politics (a little boring for me), but all in all, a short, entertaining read.
Michael Nutt
This Kindle edition of G.K. Chesterton's 'The Man Who Knew Too Much' is a collection of eight stories linked by a central character - the oddly named Horne Fisher - who is a font of all knowledge, which enables him to solve crimes and mysteries in less time than it would take you or I to make a cup of tea.

On first publication in 1922, the book was originally a set of twelve stories, of which only the first eight featured the titular character. In the Kindle collection we have just those eight st...more
Angela Blount
This collection of short stories turned out a bit more ponderous than what I've come to expect from Chesterton's writing. His intensely clever and elegant prose is ever-present, but the subject matter lacks the timeless feel of some of his other works.

Initially I'd thought the anthology was something in the spirit of Sherlock Holmes, but that was just my misconception. Instead it is more a socio-political and somewhat philosophical commentary on England during a highly specific pre-war period....more
Martyn Lovell
This collection of short stories about politics and puzzles. The main characters are presented with locked-room type puzzles in which inexplicable things have happened. As so often there is a Genius (Fisher) and a sidekick (March).

Each of the puzzles is quite satisfying - intellectually interesting, and in most cases resolved in a way that works without seeming excessively contrived. I found the puzzles and plots quite satisfying.

The writing style is a little diffuse, often having too much wand...more
Rosemary
I admire Chesterton's writing style a great deal, and he was undoubtedly a man of considerable intellect. My marks against him are for anti-semitism and an insistence on Catholicism as the only proper form of Christianity. The details are in my comments on the individual stories of The Man Who Knew Too Much. (This book has nothing to do with the Alfred Hitchcock films--there were two--of the same name.)

The main character, Horne Fisher, belongs to the British aristocracy and seems to know "too mu...more
Kelsey
I felt like I was wading through a bog while reading this. Lots of heavy descriptions that seemed to lead nowhere. Some of the later stories were a bit confusing in terms of plot (and I wasn't the only one in book club with this opinion). The anti-semitism and anti-foreigner bits were probably more accepted at the time of publication, but today feel very off-putting, making me really dislike the characters. And the fact that nothing really gets resolved and nothing changes was frustrating. Felt...more
John Lucy
Essentially this book is a collection of stories about Horne Fisher, an Englishman who knew too much. He's fairly lazy in nature, and that may be because he knows too much. He's a lot like Sherlock Holmes, and Chesterton no doubt modeled Fisher on Holmes. The one difference is that Holmes helped solve crimes and bring criminals to justice, while Fisher solves crimes and then does nothing about it. Why does he do nothing about the crimes? Sometimes because he can't and other times because the rep...more
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7014283
Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936) cannot be summed up in one sentence. Nor in one paragraph. In fact, in spite of the fine biographies that have been written of him (and his Autobiography), he has never been captured between the covers of one book. But rather than waiting to separate the goats from the sheep, let’s just come right out and say it: G.K. Chesterton was the best writer of the twent...more
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