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The Man Who Knew Too Much

3.59  ·  Rating Details  ·  3,884 Ratings  ·  291 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
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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
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[Name Redacted]
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
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Pradnya K.
I missed a clever deduction like Holmes'. I missed serene country backdrop like Christie portrays. The climax of stories are revealed in a bit unhappening way for detective stories. Why I kept going on was the writing. Loved it! I think the modern mystery novels are technically advanced and we expect the detective to be clever, unorthodox hero who twirls magic wand of sudden revelations ( like that of Patrick Jane) so it's not easy to like the Horne Fisher. Plus the stories are too short and les ...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.
Madhulika Liddle
Languid, prematurely balding Horne Fisher is the man who knows too much: whether it’s about plankton or guns, the history of old houses and place names, or the sordid pasts of Britain’s most illustrious. Legends, mathematics, weapons, literature, science—Fisher knows it all like the back of his hand. And this is what makes him a fine detective: because, in the barest of crime scenes, he sees clues that escape others.

I must admit I wanted to read this book because I have a particular fondness fo
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James
Oct 22, 2015 James rated it really liked it
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
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Ozoneocean
Aug 20, 2011 Ozoneocean rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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Ivan Damjanović
Osam whodunit priča smještenih u mikrosvemir gdje centralnu figuru predstavlja naslovni ’čovjek koji je previše znao’- Horne Fisher uz svog sidekicka, tj. prijatelja Harolda Marcha (političkog novinara i društvenog kritičara- piščev alter ego, a i Fisher ima autorovih karakteristika, tj. autobiografskih crta). Fisher ima rodbinu u samom vrhu engleske politike (dva bratića i ujak su ministri te premijer), pa eto kruga radnje.
Riječ je, vjerojatno, o prvoj krimi ligi: Chestertonove krimiće iznimno
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Darwin8u
May 24, 2013 Darwin8u rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013
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
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Kevin
Jul 06, 2011 Kevin rated it liked it
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
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Karo
Sep 13, 2012 Karo rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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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
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
Ellen Trautner
Jan 06, 2016 Ellen Trautner rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is good, but not what I expected at all! I had seen the Alfred Hitchcock movie of the same name (the one starring Jimmy Stewart) and thought this would be a suspenseful story and a boy would get kidnapped because his dad unwittingly overheard criminals talking, and then the mom sings "Que Sera Sera" and the boy is found. (Oh, um, spoiler alert for the movie.)

Luckily, no spoiler alert needed for the book, because it's nothing like that at all! It's a series of short stories that have myster
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Joseph Rice
Jul 06, 2015 Joseph Rice rated it liked it
Although billed as detective stories, these are instead a collection of tales of political satire. The Man Who Knew Too Much is Horne Fisher, who is related to or knows most of the British ruling/political class. Although a series of murders take place, nothing is ever done about them because of who is involved with each of them, and the consequences of letting the public know what they have done.

Chesterton was not a socialist, but he did have a feel for the common man and his struggles, and it
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Bill
Jul 31, 2015 Bill rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Eight short stories with a detective unlike many others, because this one knows a little too much about the matters that he finds himself in, and that sometimes can be a problem, believe it or not!

With his usual fluid and clean style, G.K. Chesterton gives us different tales as he did in his many Father Brown stories – this is a terrific read and since they are short tales, you can read them over breakfast, commuting, at lunch or a quiet moment when you’re just need a little something special fo
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Laurel Hicks
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"
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.
Cphe
Jul 03, 2014 Cphe rated it liked it
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.
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.
Todd
Oct 18, 2014 Todd rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Overall, it might be more like 2 1/2 stars. It was basically eight short stories (each a stand-alone chapter) of who-done-its and other mysteries that were only linked by the common character of the Man Who Knew Too Much and his sidekick. The characters did grow on one throughout the telling, though the first two or three chapters seemed to have little point in and of themselves. The fourth chapter certainly had a point, that in support of Chesterton's own Little England convictions. It also con ...more
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
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John Lucy
Jun 04, 2014 John Lucy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
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An Odd1
Feb 24, 2014 An Odd1 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
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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
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Alyson
Oct 17, 2013 Alyson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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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
Annie Hawthorne
Let's just say that this ends in such a manner where you wander about trying to collect your thoughts and wondering, "What do I do now?"

The second-to-the-last chapter made me furious, a sort of righteous anger at injustice and thwarted lives, and I had to stop reading momentarily so I could calm down (and also keep myself from taking out my emotions on the innocent book by flinging it across the room, but that's beside the point).

The last chapter? Perfect. It couldn't have ended in a better way.
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Doug
Jun 03, 2012 Doug rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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.
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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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“Modern intelligence won't accept anything on authority. But it will accept anything without authority.” 14 likes
“You know I always liked you," said Fisher, quietly, "but I also respect you, which is not always the same thing. You may possibly guess that I like a good many people I don't respect. Perhaps it is my tragedy, perhaps it is my fault. But you are very different, and I promise you this: that I will never try to keep you as somebody to be liked, at the price of your not being respected.” 3 likes
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