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The Club of Queer Trades

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  2,007 ratings  ·  200 reviews
With all 32 original illustrations by the authorBritish writers have long enjoyed inventing preposterous clubs with eccentric members, unusual qualifications for membership, and zany rules of behavior; G. K. Chesterton was no exception. Here, six marvelously funny episodes with improbable plots revolving around just such an institution are made especially pleasing by ...more
Hardcover, Large Print, 275 pages
Published April 1st 2004 by Thorndike Press (first published 1905)
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Average rating 3.88  · 
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 ·  2,007 ratings  ·  200 reviews

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Jesse Broussard
How even to review this? And what exactly is the point? For that matter, what was the point of it being written? It certainly wasn't a necessary book. I don't believe the great Catholic ever sat down and said, "How to save England and the rest of the world? Ah, this will do the trick." And if I'm mistaken, if he did utter such a phrase, it wasn't about this book. Perhaps he simply needed to stretch the legs of his mind--indeed, I shall take that as the excuse (it will serve as well as any ...more
Nancy Oakes
Tough book for a star rating, really. Like a 3.6

In The Club of Queer Trades, Chesterton takes to the familiar Holmes and Watson-ish format to tell his own tales, following the adventures of detective Rupert Grant and Swinburne, the narrator of these tales, who is often dragged into Rupert's adventures. Add into the mix Rupert's brother Basil who generally comes up with the real solution to Rupert's cases. The thing is that, when all is said and done,
Hákon Gunnarsson
There are very few writers that write detective fiction in the same way as Chesterton. On the face of it, his set up is often quite usual. The Club of Queer Trades has a somewhat similar set up as the Sherlock Holmes stories, an brilliant independent investigator is followed by the narrator, though the Chesterton story does have a one more central character.

The difference is that there are no murders in The Club of Queer Trades as there would be in pretty much all traditional detective stories.
Julie Davis
Jan 28, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
#7 - 2010

At the beginning of the 20th century, in detective fiction there was Sherlock Holmes and that was all. There were other fictional detectives, to be sure, but they were only bad imitations of Arthur Conan Doyles famous consulting detective. The sleuths offered by other writers would try to outdo Holmes in eccentricity and in solving crimes that were evermore contrived and convoluted.

But in 1905 a book of mysteries came along that finally managed to turn the Sherlock Holmes idea on its
Dec 06, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, 2008, audio, mystery
Chesterton's book is a series of mystery stories involving a narrator and his friend, the eccentric ex-judge Basil Grant. Each story is about someone who belongs to the Club of Queer Trades--someone who makes his living in an unique way.

I haven't read any Chesterton before, but was delighted by the breadth and depth of the mysteries. They had a variety of means and ends, and often didn't involve murder or other sordid crimes. At the same time, the detective Basil Grant becomes a sort of
Mar 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A collection of little charm-like stories that combine to make a lovely bracelet of a book.

4 Extra Debut. A retired soldier finds himself threatened by a flowerbed. Stars David Warner, Martin Freeman, Geoffrey Whitehead and Vicki Pepperdine. From April 2005.

GK Chesterton - The Club of Queer Trades - 6. The Eccentric Seclusion of the Old Lady: Cries for help distract Rupert and Charlie from a pleasant summer evening. Could it be that Basil has an odd vocation of his own? Stars David Warner, Martin Freeman. From May 2005.

Thoroughly enjoyed this
Aug 17, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Laura by: Bettie
FRom BBC Radio 4 - 4 Extra Debut:
4 Extra Debut. A retired soldier finds himself threatened by a flowerbed. Stars David Warner, Martin Freeman, Geoffrey Whitehead and Vicki Pepperdine.

1. The Tremendous Adventures of Major Brown.
2. The Painful Fall of a Great Reputation.
3. The Awful Reason of the Vicar's Visit.
4. The Singular Speculation of the House Agent
5. The Noticeable Conduct of Professor Chadd
Graychin (D. Dalrymple)
Chestertons early work has a strong flavor of Robert Louis Stevenson. The stories collected here, for example, might have made an acceptable addition to RLSs New Arabian Nights. While enjoyable, however, these tales are not quite of Stevensons quality; nor are they as good as Chestertons better Father Brown stories. Nonetheless, this was a fun read. ...more
Manuel Alfonseca
ENGLISH: The gist of this short collection of short stories can be expressed by a few typical proverbs:

Appearances are deceiving. Proven facts are sometimes not so proven. What really moves us is not the facts, but our interpretations of the facts.

Truth is stranger than fiction. For fiction is the creation of the human mind, and therefore is congenial to it.

As usual in the stories by Chesterton, the protagonists, in this case the retired judge Basil Grant, but also other characters, often seems
Jul 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a delightful journey. Chesterton plays with a series of outrageously unlikely and seemingly impossible situations with remarkable literary panache and with consummate skill. On the surface the tales have a frothy insouciant elegance but watch out! Every so often Chesterton suddenly and brilliantly weaves in a revelatory moment of genuine aphoristic insight.

Amazing book!
May 28, 2015 marked it as did-not-finish  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: england-uk, humorous
Lovers of P G Wodehouse will likely enjoy this as well. I read the first story and part of the second but it's really not my style. But it's free on public domain so give it a go for yourself.
Sep 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Chesterton is just brilliant. I marveled as I worked through each of these chapters to see how they would explain themselves. Completely engrossing. I loved Basil Grant! What a cool headed, clear thinking character. I loved how he always had his wits about him as well as his religion. I enjoyed the last chapter where he deals with a couple of blokes who call themselves followers of Darwin. I don't want to give away any of the chapter so I will confine myself to Grant's summation of it. "The ...more
Apr 07, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
G.K. Chesterton's The Club of Queer Trades is one of those bagatelles the author tossed off early in his career. It is about a unique club:
The nature of this society, such as we afterwards discovered it to be, is soon and simply told. It is an eccentric and Bohemian Club, of which the absolute condition of membership lies in this, that the candidate must have invented the method by which he earns his living.
The six stories remind me of another Chesterton work written about the same time, The
Dec 30, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
G.K. Chesterton is an excellent author; it's really too bad that more people don't know about him. His works do take a little mental effort to read, but the rewards are always an interesting and well-told story.

The Club of Queer Trades is a set of short stories that are related to each other very slightly, by way of the titular Club. It's a very self-explanatory name; to get in to the group, you need to have invented a completely different occupation and to be able to make your living by your
May 23, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another Librivox recording.

The Librivox volunteer was fabulous! The same volunteer did all chapters and was just one of the best I've listened to.

Here's the official summary:

A collection of six wonderfully quirky detective stories, featuring the mystic former judge Basil Grant. Each story reveals a practitioner of an entirely new profession, and member of the Club of Queer Trades. (Summary by David Barnes)

The book starts off with the tremendous adventures of Major Brown that leads us to the
Jul 16, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I really didn't enjoy this for so many reasons but I will keep it brief. The Basil Grant character was an insufferably pompous, mercurial in his dispensing of his insights, over zealous, moralizing buffoon. Meanwhile the other characters were largely idiotic 2D straw men designed to reflect Basil's greatness. As for the "queer trades" they were in the most part decidedly disappointing. Chesterton, in his (clearly declared in this work) staunch religiosity, conservatism and bull headed disregard ...more
These stories were a bit formulaic however that didn't stop me enjoying them or Chesterton's wit and humour.
I listened to the Librivox audiobook and the narrator was terrific.
Nicola Mansfield
Dec 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A short collection of quaint stories featuring Basil Grant, an eccentric, a former judge and current hermit. The narrator is his friend and tells us of conundrum's that Basil gets himself involved in and must solve. Halfway through Basil's brother Rupert who is an amateur detective and even more eccentric joins in the fun. Much more light-hearted than Father Brown stories. None of the stories features the club of queer trades but we are introduced to it in the first story and each subsequent ...more
Tim Pendry

'The Club of Queer Trades' (1903) is a light hearted collection of six anecdotal tales strung together within a framework worthy of the British tradition of absurdist humour that goes from Tristram Shandy through to Spike Milligan and Monty Python.

Of course, while the humour is still there, the laugh out loud element will have gone although I chuckled, I have to admit, at the image of a gang of transvestite criminals (no more details for the sake of spoilers). Our po-faced millennial generation
Jun 06, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
A short series of mysteries, each featuring a misunderstanding arising from someone with a really odd job. It's clever...but not as clever as it thinks it is.
Obalola Ibrahim
I like it Vocation people get involved in that only they could ever carry out. A nice ending to the whole story.
Sam Kabo Ashwell
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
The stories in this collection have a great deal in common with Chesterton's FATHER BROWN mysteries. Like Father Brown, former-judge Basil Grant initially comes across as an odd, ineffectual little man who speaks in riddles and lives with his head in the clouds. But, just as with Father Brown, the seeming nonsense that Basil speaks is actually the very solution that the more literal-minded (and unimaginative) detectives are looking for.
As he so often does, G.K. Chesterton revels in poking fun at
Feb 11, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is comprised of several one chapter fictions written in the vein of Sherlock Holmes, but with a style and moral twist that only Chesterton can impart. A short, yet fun read.

"What I complain of is a vague popular philosophy which supposes itself to be scientific when it is really nothing but a sort of new religion and an uncommonly nasty one. When people talk about the fall of man they knew they were talking about a mystery, a thing they didn't understand. Now that they talk about the
Eneas Caro
Oct 09, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So Chesterton invented the concept of "escape rooms"?

I must say, he's a great imaginer and a creative mind of exceptional splendour. I simply had encountered feelings regardless his neverending victorian prose, leaving nothing to the imagination. In modern day we take it upon ourselves to imagine what only writers like to etch out in front of us, but Chesterton -and I understand this was the norm back then- explains in many words what could be said in few. Tells us what to feel and what to see
This title was really just fine in its day. Now, not so much.

The book is a series of short mystery stories linked by a unique British club. As in all short story collections, some are better than others.

I enjoyed G.K.'s writing style (a bit archaic now, but I love the interesting way his characters speak to one another) and his obvious love affair with the eccentric.

Then again, he would often introduce oddities and then obviously hold off explaining them for far too long- not wanting to resolve
Dec 29, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A collection of short stories revolving around a retired and eccentric judge Basil Grant who solves mysteries in a way similar to Sherlock Holmes. There are some clever ideas included here, a business built around creating life threatening adventures for its bored and affluent clients, a famous life of the party fellow is exposed as a fraud, a witness to a crime gives a true address which cannot be found by the police despite the abode being provided by a reputable house agent, a language ...more
Nov 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I think Chesterton is the most overlooked and underrated author in the English language. This is a beautiful edition of one of my favourite books. The quality of writing is so good that it may take some time to read other more modern books. After reading this you may need to read Dickens to come down.
This is a crime thriller and the use of the word queer relates not to its current use but means unique or singular. The club is made up from those who have an occupation shared by none. It's a well
John Owen
An early (1905) collection of short stories by G.K. Chesterton, featuring the same characters, all revolving round the titular "Club of Queer Trades". In many ways, this is a precursor of Chesterton's much more successful Father Brown stories, in that a problem is stated, followed up, then solved, not always in a very logical way. If you're a completist for G.K.C.'s work, then seek this out. If you've not read him before, look for "The Man Who Was Thursday" or a collection of the Father Brown ...more
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Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936) was born in London, educated at St. Pauls, 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, ...more

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