Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Complete Father Brown” as Want to Read:
The Complete Father Brown
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Complete Father Brown

(Father Brown #1-5)

4.06  ·  Rating details ·  6,611 ratings  ·  357 reviews

* Contains unique, hand-crafted additional content including literary critiques, and detailed biographical / historical context


This collection bring together all the Father Brown mysteries of G.K. Chesterton in a single, convenient, high quality, but extremely low priced Kindle volume!

Gilbert Keith Chesterton (29 May 1874 – 14 June 1936) was an English w
Kindle Edition, 802 pages
Published (first published 1910)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Complete Father Brown, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
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)
Joe McMahon Most of them are OK, as Ravinder notes, there are a number of racist references, most to people of color, but also to religions and non-English…moreMost of them are OK, as Ravinder notes, there are a number of racist references, most to people of color, but also to religions and non-English people. Chesterton does tend to use stereotypes in places that he could written more fully-delineated characters, and is frankly not very good at all with non-Christian religions. I too would recommend pre-reading, or reading with, and discussing the unfortunate choices.

I read them in middle-school myself, at about 13-14, so they're not *inappropriate*, just not 100% in line with current standards.(less)
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Rating details
Sort: Default
Apr 05, 2007 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
Oct 01, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Sep 30, 2015 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
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
May 13, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 27, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 05, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
When I was young there was a Father Brown TV show which I loved. Much later, I decided to actually read the short stories, and enjoyed them as well. Good, old fashioned vintage mysteries.

And now with the new BBC version with Mark Williams, I'm beginning to wonder whether I ought to read them again.
Aug 20, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Ari Joy
Jul 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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,
Aug 09, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
G.K. Chesterton wrote these relatively gentle accounts of a parish priest who had a knack for crime-solving in the 1920s. The stories are fairly short, and are usually solved by logic combined with Father Brown's spiritual viewpoint. A piece of Scripture occasionally sneaks in, but more often an allusion to the life of a saint or other religious figure will aid Father Brown in the solution to the dilemma. Not all stories have a religious slant, but Chesterton's attitude is always evident in his ...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
Andrew Orange
Jun 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Classic literature.
Many believers in the God and atheists are surprised at the absence of the supernatural phenomena in these stories.
Oct 14, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: england, mystery, 1910s
Fun classic mystery stories. For the most part they are intellectual puzzles rather than action pieces, which means there are a lot of people sitting around talking about what happened. Some of the solutions are quite bizarre! I appreciated how the author treats Christian faith, but was disappointed to see how little that faith overcame cultural prejudices against foreigners and people of other races.
Jun 01, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Some of the stories I really enjoyed and others were hard to follow. Overall I liked this mystery compilation of short stories. I'll definitely reread my favorites.
Stephen Goforth
Nov 16, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I only became aware of Father Brown through the television program, but as books are inevitably greater than their poorer children, I wanted to read, as it were, the genuine article. I was not disappointed. * One note of caution; these tales were written at a time when people of color were routinely demeaned and dehumanized in print. These stories are no exception, although Father Brown is, thankfully, seldom the culprit.
Jul 21, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was my second time reading through this collection, and I loved the stories even more this time. Although the detective stories are rather odd and at times extravagant (as many stories in this genre tend to become), Chesterton always has at least two striking comments in human nature in each story. Father Brown is also a refreshing character; in the first story in this collection (The Blue Cross) he comes as a sort of surprise at the very end of the story. All in all, these stories are quit ...more
Todd Stockslager
Mar 28, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 09, 2014 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
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
Jul 19, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
P.M. Pevato
Oct 31, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's difficult to ignore Chesterton's influence on Agatha Christie.
In Miss Marple's debut, The Murder at the Vicarage, Agatha Christie makes direct reference to Chesterton.
Hercule Flambeau, Hercule Poirot, another nod to Chesterton's ex thief in the infamous Belgian detective. And in Christie's "Sanctuary", Miss Marple solves a crime that has shades of "The Flying Stars".
Unlike Sherlock Holmes or Poirot, Father Brown's sleuthing abilities are shaped by his vocation - priest, confessor - unlike
H. M. Snow
Dec 11, 2012 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
Oct 14, 2008 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
Apr 19, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
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 04, 2009 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
Jul 09, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Watching The Dete...: Father Brown on TV - any questions? 2 7 Oct 18, 2012 01:30PM  
  • Lord Peter (Lord Peter Wimsey Mysteries)
  • Great Detectives: A Century of the Best Mysteries from England and America
  • Father Elijah: An Apocalypse
  • The World of the Short Story: A Twentieth Century Collection
  • The Adventures of Ellery Queen
  • The World of Jeeves (Jeeves, #2-4)
  • Black as Night (A Fairy Tale Retold #2)
  • Kiss, Kiss / Switch Bitch / My Uncle Oswald
  • Roads of Destiny
  • Pilgrim's Inn (Eliots of Damerosehay, #2)
  • Killer Dolphin (Roderick Alleyn, #24)
  • The Penguin Book of Gaslight Crime: Con Artists, Burglars, Rogues, and Scoundrels from the Time of Sherlock Holmes
  • Resorting to Murder: Holiday Mysteries
  • The Best of Mystery: 63 Short Stories Chosen by the Master of Suspense
  • Murder for Christmas
  • The Better Part: A Christ-Centered Resource for Personal Prayer
  • Uniformity with God's Will
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

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)
“You are my only friend in the world, and I want to talk to you. Or, perhaps, be silent with you.” 4 likes
“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” 4 likes
More quotes…