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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Innocent Father Brown
Father Brown is first introduced to readers as a kindly, clumsy little priest who prattles naively about the valuables he's toting, and keeps dropping his umbrella.

But appearances, G.K. Chesterton reminds us, are deceptive. "The Innocence of Father Brown" is the first collection of stories about the kindly, eccentric detective who has an uncanny cleverness...
Published on 21 Feb. 2007 by E. A Solinas

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Worth a read if only for the plots
"The Innocence of Father Brown" was certainly a book I was waiting to read with anticipation; I have recently become interested in reading novels that illustrate the beginnings of crime fiction as we know it today.

And whilst part of my anticipation was merited due to the inventive and ingenious premises that Chesterton employs, I found that the quality of...
Published on 20 Feb. 2013 by Lauren G


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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Innocent Father Brown, 21 Feb. 2007
By 
EA Solinas "ea_solinas" (MD USA) - See all my reviews
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Father Brown is first introduced to readers as a kindly, clumsy little priest who prattles naively about the valuables he's toting, and keeps dropping his umbrella.

But appearances, G.K. Chesterton reminds us, are deceptive. "The Innocence of Father Brown" is the first collection of stories about the kindly, eccentric detective who has an uncanny cleverness that nobody guesses. Chesterton wraps each story in his warm, sometimes entrancing writing and a very odd assortment of crimes.

The first story opens with French detective Valentin on the hunt for the great thief Flambeau, and along the way encounters a little priest who is telling people about his "silver with blue stones." Turns out that the little priest is the target of Flambeau's crime, and the priceless sapphire cross he's carrying is about to be stolen -- but Valentin discovers that Father Brown is a lot cleverer than he seems.

In the stories that follow, Father Brown is involved in a series of strange crimes -- a cold-blooded beheading from religious bigotry, "a cheery cosy English middle-class crime" for Christmas, an Italian prince's invitation ends with revenge, a mysterious fall, a murderer in the open that nobody sees, precious gems, headless skeletons, and a suicide note that reads: "I die by my own hand; yet I die murdered!"

Chesterton's mysteries are often ignored next to Agatha Christie and Arthur Conan Doyle, which is odd when you consider his uncanny knack for making mysteries that are simple, yet incredibly hard to figure out. And each mystery is accompanied by little insights into human nature -- such as the one man whom you could see going to a crime scene, but wouldn't notice.

The mysteries are usually written very casually and a little humorously, but with an oblique wall of clues that don't make sense until Father Brown reveals the motives. And Chesterton's crowning achievement is a writing style is absolutely exquisite ("Between the silver ribbon of morning and the green glittering ribbon of sea"), something that not many mysteries have.

Three characters are really important here: little gnomish Father Brown, whose innocuous appearance hides a shrewd knowledge of crime and evil. There's Flambeau, a master thief who is impressed by Brown's intelligence and understanding, and the rabidly bigoted French detective Valentin, whose dislike of Brown takes an unexpected turn early in the book.

"The Innocence of Father Brown" is a solid little collection of Chesterton's detective stories, starring one of the least likely detectives you could pick. Definitely a good read for mystery buffs.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars How do you connect farce and religion?, 18 Aug. 2000
By A Customer
The Father Brown stories are great. They make absolutely no sense, pyschological, realist or in terms of the solutions to the crimes, but are so engagingly written, with such transparent 'goodness' in the moonfaced priest himself, that they remain even now memorable allegories for everyday life. Often they hit the level of high farce in their absolute refusal to take themselves seriously: except, that is, in the very real way they touch on ethical, moral and religious dilemmas at times.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Still Worth Reading, 16 Jan. 2013
By 
M. Dowden (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Innocence of Father Brown (Kindle Edition)
I must admit that I have been recording the new daytime series on BBC1 of Father Brown and enjoying it. Due to that I thought it was about time I re-read some of the original tales, and instead of going through all my books I found this freebie for my kindle. In all this volume contains twelve tales, these being The Blue Cross, The Secret Garden, The Queer Feet, The Flying Stars, The Invisible Man, The Honour of Israel Gow, The Wrong Shape, The Sins of Prince Saradine, The Hammer of God, The Eye of Apollo, The Sign of the Broken Sword and, The Three Tools of Death.

It has been some time since I have last read any Father Brown tales, so it came as a pleasant surprise when I realised I had forgotten how good they really are. All Father Brown tales are short stories and are good little puzzles for you to get your head around, which is one of the reasons I suppose that they have always remained so popular, that and the fact that the amateur detective is just an unassuming Catholic priest. Well written and enjoyable to read, whether Father Brown is solving a murder, a theft, or other types of mysteries these are all well worth reading.

I feel I should point out that although there is no table of contents listed in the 'Go To' menu there is in reality one. If you click back from the beginning of this you will find it, so it is quick and easy to find any particular story that you may want to read.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Worth a read if only for the plots, 20 Feb. 2013
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This review is from: The Innocence of Father Brown (Kindle Edition)
"The Innocence of Father Brown" was certainly a book I was waiting to read with anticipation; I have recently become interested in reading novels that illustrate the beginnings of crime fiction as we know it today.

And whilst part of my anticipation was merited due to the inventive and ingenious premises that Chesterton employs, I found that the quality of prose was somewhat lacking. It felt as though it were rambling in places and the genius of Father Brown was lost amidst tiresome descriptions of scenes or characters.

Flambeau and Father Brown were both incredibly interesting protagonists with a considerable amount of depth to their personalities; I only wish that Chesterton had not hid neither his characters nor his considerably inventive and clever storylines in plodding prose.

I would recommend this for a read if you are interested in early crime fiction but I probably won't choose to read any more of Chesterton's work.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A distinctive voice, 1 Jan. 2012
When it comes to Chesterton, I am very definitely a late developer, although I have for a long while been conscious of an uncontrollable tendency to giggle continuously during episodes of Jeeves and Wooster.

This collection of short stories certainly does not disappoint. Father Brown is, at the same time, insignificant, pitiable, enigmatic and almost supernaturally insightful. The central premis appears to be that, the more unlikely, mysterious or idiosyncratic the circumstance, then the more probable it is that Father Brown will materialise in the midst of confusion and chaos and provide the one solution that no-one had foreseen. Father Brown is somehow a force for order and reconciliation amid a world full of violence and dysfunction - his knack is to redeem or repair the lives of those around him, which he manages to do in his invariably quiet and unassuming manner.

This book is to be prized primarily as it provides a very good sample of the author's unique voice: the enjoyment is as much in savouring his prose, as it is in the characters or events described.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Book of the Century, 28 April 2001
This is, quite simply, the best book written in the twentieth century. Chesterton's idiosyncratic, poetic, colourful, often bizarre, writing style; his strong imagination, with its visions of invisible men, secret gardens, false prophets, dream-like islands; the brilliant solutions to his highly original mysteries; the religious allegory; the memorable dialogue and paradox; the character of the little priest from Essex... Mind-shattering.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing, 30 Aug. 2013
By 
AM Brody (Sussex, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Innocence of Father Brown (Kindle Edition)
It is a long time since I have read Chesterton who I have always admired as a writer. This a collection of short stories with two characters that are threaded through all of them. Each one is so imaginative and each story is fresh and new. I don't know how he comes up with so many original ideas. The plots are clever and keep you guessing. Chesterton is also a wonderful writer if you are interested in reading very well written prose.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Period charm, 12 Feb. 2013
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This review is from: The Innocence of Father Brown (Kindle Edition)
These stories are charming period pieces and Father Brown is a shrewd and delightful character. Have always intended to read the stories since seeing Lady Marchain read from a Father Brown story in Brideshead Revisited and am delighted to have acheived this goal. The stories are fairly short so make ideal bedtime reading. Don't expect the gritty reallity of modern thrillers but do prepare to be amused and charmed.
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5.0 out of 5 stars good old father brown, 2 Aug. 2012
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This review is from: The Innocence of Father Brown (Kindle Edition)
It must be at least 27 years ago I first stumbled across these stories . They're a nice counterpoint to Doyle's Sherlock Holmes as Father Brown uses a much more "humanistic" ,intuitive touch rather than Holmes' fiercely intellectual,deductive method .
I do recommend bying amazon's Complete Father Brown though . Great value for money at less than a quid and excellently formatted .
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3.0 out of 5 stars The language is more flowery and descriptions of things unnecessary filled too much space, 4 Jan. 2015
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Mrs. Jm Dorrell (Dorset, England) - See all my reviews
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Rather more clumsy than expected having watched the serialisation on TV. The language is more flowery and descriptions of things unnecessary filled too much space. Father Brown was almost a minor character in the stories, barely appearing at all until the 'big reveal'. Thankfully, as this is presented in short story form, it is easier to manage than a lot of the classics.
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The Innocence of Father Brown
The Innocence of Father Brown by G. K. (Gilbert Keith) Chesterton
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