on 10 July 2013
Having never liked the sound of Father Brown, whose name always sounded a touch bumbling and droll for my tastes, I always did my utmost to shy away from Chesterton's master sleuth, until, that is, I decided to read my way through Penguin's series of Modern Classics.
Luckily the Strange Crime of John Boulnois is an excellent introduction to the wiles and wit of Father Brown, and being no longer blinded by judgmental aversion, I now find myself something of a fan. While the book's two stories, "The Blue Cross" and "The Strange Crime of John Boulnois", are both simple tales about skulduggery, they are both brilliant examples of craft, and both cajole the reader with a mixture of intrigue and suspense, weaving perfect criminal backdrops for the deductive geniality of Father Brown, before finally succumbing to his calm but incisive mind.
Although Father Brown might not appeal to many mystery readers' taste for blood and gristle, for anyone that enjoys quality short form fiction, Chesterton is quintessential. Having steered clear of Father Brown since my childhood, this book is a perfect reminder that-no matter what measures you do use to judge a book-you should never be as prosaic as judging a book by a character's name.
Having never liked the sound of Father Brown, I'm now know that not only will he be read for generations to come, but that his name will remain a stark reminder to me of the bumbling and droll literary prejudices that I'm afraid will hound me eternally.