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The Father Brown Omnibus

(Father Brown #1-5)

4.05  ·  Rating details ·  8,169 ratings  ·  486 reviews
Collection of every Father Brown story ever written. It includes the following short story collections:
The Innocence of Father Brown
The Incredulity of Father Brown
The Scandal of Father Brown
The Wisdom of Father Brown
The Secret of Father Brown
The Vampire of the Village
Hardcover, 993 pages
Published 1951 by Dodd, Mead & Company, Inc. (first published 1929)
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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 themsel…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 people…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)

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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! ...more
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. ...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
David Gustafson
Feb 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Snap, crackle, pop! A crime, a cast of suspects and a solution. All within about twenty pages although the “pop” often lands just behind your ear with a subtle, soft blow because Father Brown is such a sly little devil.

These clever mysteries are not three-course meals. They are cheese nibbles for the quick-thinking reader, not mystery banquets for the gullible with more time on their hands than brains.

Like Stilton, Gorgonzola, Camembert, Cheddar, Brie, Munster or Gouda, on their own or with a na
Kyle Rapinchuk
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
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
Pamela Shropshire
Mar 21, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I notice that it has taken me two months exactly to read this omnibus of all the Father Brown stories. Father Brown is unlike any other detective in fiction. His approach to solving crime - usually murders - is to imagine himself as the murderer:

’I had planned out each of the crimes very carefully,’ went on Father Brown, ‘I had thought out exactly how a thing like that could be done, and in what style or state of mind a man could really do it. And when I was quite sure that I felt exactly like t
Shabbeer Hassan
Father Brown, the diminutive, sharp-witted, pious clergyman and a part-time detective, is rather a fun character by Chesterton. Comprising of all stories written by him starring Brown and the gentleman thief turned faithful companion Hercule Flambeau clearly modelled after Lupin, is a veritable read around the holidays. This along with the audio dramatization by BBC and the long-running ITV series starring Mark Williams form a complete package of sorts for lovers of whodunits and whimsical chara ...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
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
Riju Ganguly
May 10, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Got myself re acquainted with these old classics. They are witty, wordy, beautifully written examples of golden age mysteries. One loves them, fondly remembers them, then goes for something completely different since these mysteries were absolutely improbable. I could almost hear Raymond Chandler gnashing his teeth as I read and enjoyed 'The Worst Crime in the World'.
Recommended for pleasant reading. Take your time. Know that whatever you are reading are fantastic and not to be taken too serious
read 1/06/19 - 1/13/19
4.5:5 stars

How do I review a book that is so thoroughly EPIC?!

Think Sherlock Holmes as a little, round priest, and you have Father Brown. That isn't to say that the Father Brown stories and the Sherlock Holmes stories are nearly identical. G. K. Chesterton and Arthur C. Doyle are two very different writers, and their mystery writing is the first place which proves that.

I've discovered that in the Father Brown stories you often come u
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,
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.
Jul 19, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: re-reading
Descriptive, interesting plots and cast, love the series. Have reread and will again. text/audio/etext versions. Some free etext and audio versions on and Hard/soft covers on and radio broadcast versions on
Les Wilson
As I have said many times in the past,it is difficult giving a rating to a
compilation. This is the case again as I rate the stories individually from 2 to 4. So I feel I have to split the difference and give it a 3.
Jul 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
WOW! It has taken me a long time to finish this but what an enjoyable time!

I had been watching the TV series while reading this book; both are enjoyable but basically chalk and cheese. I found the written stories to be subtle, ironic and intelligent. The TV adaptation was also intelligent but focused softly on a cast of characters and setting that change the tone of the mystery.
Trinity Vinton
Jan 06, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one among my most favorites! I have read and re-read and re-read. . . A must read!
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
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
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
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
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
Jan 02, 2011 rated it it was ok
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
May 11, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's taken me exactly a year because I found I couldn't read the stories back to back. But this way I enjoyed it more and, really, there's no rush. I found the cases original but quite often far over the top and the solutions not always satisfying and far fetched. The characters were often stereotypes and (I don't know anything about Chesterton) there was a lot of conservatism and even racism to the point that, after a while, you knew from the start who the murderer was. But it was still very en ...more
Oct 14, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: england, 1910s, mystery
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.
Sophie Crane
Nov 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Such wonderful stories.
We watched the tv series and was hooked on it so had to get the complete stories obviously
This book is the type you need on a winters day in a country pub with an open fire -snuggled in the inglenook. It reads like an old friend without ever reading it before (I know that doesn't make sense but it almost hugs you with the warmth of the writing).
Love this book - it will defiantly be one of my forever favourites!
Jan 01, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoy watching Father Brown Mysteries on BBC America so I decided to read the stories. The writing was different because of when it was written but still I still found the book enjoyable. Of course, as I read the book, I pictured Father Brown like the actor on the tv show.
this wasn't as good as i remembered it being. i had to resort to listening to it as an audio book to get through it and the weird inconsistencies in morals between the narrator and father brown and sometimes father brown and himself were just very :/ to me. i had a half hour left on the audio book but i'm not gunna bother to finish it. ...more
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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

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)

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