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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not Your Typical Mysteries
Considering the age of these short stories they still hold up extremely well. The stories themselves are, for the most part, not your typical set up/murder/solution type of story. A lot of them are of a very esoteric nature. They just do not come across as "traditional" at all. Having said this, they are very entertaining, and when read in order it is interesting...
Published 2 months ago by Bootsy Bass

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars good read
it was very interesting to read stories set in a time when there really was not a lot of violence or sex to sell a good story.
Published 7 months ago by Mary-Lou Bush


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not Your Typical Mysteries, Jan. 24 2014
By 
Bootsy Bass (Winnipeg) - See all my reviews
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Considering the age of these short stories they still hold up extremely well. The stories themselves are, for the most part, not your typical set up/murder/solution type of story. A lot of them are of a very esoteric nature. They just do not come across as "traditional" at all. Having said this, they are very entertaining, and when read in order it is interesting to see the growth of peripheral players who come and go through different stories.
These are all short stories complete in a series of volumes with everything contained in this one e book. It is well worth getting.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars good read, Sept. 7 2013
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it was very interesting to read stories set in a time when there really was not a lot of violence or sex to sell a good story.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Wise, innocent father Brown, Feb. 22 2014
By 
E. A 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 Complete Father Brown Stories" brings together the complete 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.

Father Brown is a pleasant little Roman Catholic priest living in England, who seems just to be a nice little old man on the outside. But when a crime is committed -- or seems to have been committed -- Father Brown begins pottering around in search of clues, and unravels the very surprising truths of the matter.

Not just factual truths, but the truths of human nature and theology. Some of the mysteries that confront him are seemingly simple crimes, while others are baffling to the point of impossibility. And some of the stories (such as man who claims he's going to be attacked by a demonic force) seem to have a supernatural basis, but Father Brown's common sense always wins.

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 were a lot simpler than they appeared to be, or else had some sort of bizarre twist at the end. Both kinds of mysteries show up in these short stories, but only occasionally can readers guess what is going on, until Father Brown spells it out with some little detail of human nature.

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 ("Over the black pine-wood came flying and flashing in the moon, a naked sword"), something that not many mysteries have.

And Father Brown is a likable little guy, who looks like an "innocent goblin" and doesn't have to overwork himself to solve mysteries. It's his shrewd brain and rather childlike straightforwardness that carries him through, and his innocuous appearance hides a shrewd knowledge of crime and evil ("The reliable machine always has to be worked by an unreliable machine.... I mean Man").

"The Complete Father Brown Stories" brings together some truly memorable mystery stories, with solutions much simpler than they seem.
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4.0 out of 5 stars good stories, Jan. 25 2014
Good; a little slow and repetitive at times, but enjoyable. Interesting twists and, like Sherlock Holmes, attention to detail leading to clear conclusions
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4.0 out of 5 stars Much more capable than he appears, Sept. 19 2008
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This review is from: Penguin Complete Father Brown (Paperback)
There are some characters or stories whom everybody knows. Even those who have not actually read the works have at least heard of Sherlock Holmes, or War of the Worlds, or The Lord of the Rings. There is one fictional "detective" who may not be quite as well known as Holmes (although he comes close), but has certainly delighted generations of readers. In a sense, Father Brown is the antithesis of Holmes. While we are made aware, at every turn, of Holmes' brilliance, of Brown we are told: "He had a face round and dull as a Norfolk dumpling; he had eyes as empty as the North Sea; he had several brown-paper parcels which he was quite incapable of collecting." (p. 10)

Yet despite his harmless appearance, Brown correctly fingers the criminal in every case. (This appeals to my love of people or things which are much more capable than they appear.) But another thing which appeals to me about Father Brown is that his religious faith, which seems to be such a handicap to his opponents, is one of the keys to his success. Time and again, a sceptical criminal underestimates him, and tries to trip him up with mystical mumbo-jumbo, on the assumption that anyone dumb enough to believe in God will fall for any old line. But it is precisely because he believes in God that Brown will not fall for "any old line." A sceptic may, on a dark and stormy night, in a creaking old house, have a hard time maintaining unbelief in vampires and goblins. For a Christian, such creatures cannot exist. (In fact, a survey taken a few years ago showed -- much to the surprise of the surveyors -- that Christians are much less likely to believe in assorted "paranormal phenomena" than are self-avowed atheists.)

So perhaps you can understand the pleasure I take in reading the Father Brown stories: Brown is successful, not in spite of his faith, but because of it. The Complete Father Brown collects all of the Father Brown stories in one (large-ish) volume. The only problem now is remembering to stop reading before the sun comes up.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A treasure trove!, June 21 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: Penguin Complete Father Brown (Paperback)
Other authors may have excelled in the detective story, but it was G.K. Chesterton who elevated it to a higher intellectual and literary level. His writing combines wit, humor and whimsy with deep insights into psychology, philosophy, and even theology. While others viewed the detective story as a mere entertaining puzzle, G.K. treated it as a serious art form, with potential for symbolism and allegory. Father Brown is one of the classic fictional detectives of all time, a character more "real" than many living people. How wonderful to have all the Father Brown stories under one cover! Keep this volume by your bedside or near your favorite armchair, so you can dip into it on a rainy weekend, before you go to bed, or at any time you like. All confirmed Father Brown devotees must have the Penguin COMPLETE FATHER BROWN, and those who have not yet discovered this detective genius could find no better way to become acquainted with him.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Read Chesterton!, May 30 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: Penguin Complete Father Brown (Paperback)
I wish to comment on George Orwell's denunciation of Chesterton, quoted by one of the other reviewers. I think this comment is unfortunate coming as it does from a writer who was supposedly a champion of freedom and democracy. Orwell regrettably confuses sincere expounding of religious faith with political propaganda! Then he implies that being a Catholic is incompatible with being a man of intellect! I suppose that to Orwell the Catholic Church was just another big, bad totalitarian organization like Communist Russia. Fortunately, the Church's "propagandists" like Chesterton use the weapons of reason and logic to win people over. While he denounced dictatorships in his writings, Orwell appears to have turned into a little dictator himself with this little quote. Read Chesterton, including his wonderful detective stories! In becoming a spokesman for the Catholic Church, he did not suppress his intellect, but on the contrary used it to the fullest.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Eminently readable and witty..., May 1 2004
By 
M. B. Alcat "Curiosity killed the cat, but sa... (Los Angeles, California) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Penguin Complete Father Brown (Paperback)
This book compiles some short detective stories, with an unlikely protagonist, a priest. Father Brown is a rather quiet main character, unpretentious but remarkably assured. He uses logic in order to solve his cases, and he makes abundant use of good judgment and sound sense. Father Brown has an unique "worldly shrewdness", that probably stems from the fact that he spends many hours each day listening to the sins of other people. As a result, he is more or less acquainted with the bad side of human beings.
Father Brown is considered by many "the second most famous mystery-solver in English literature", the first being Sherlock Holmes. To tell the truth, I prefer Father Brown to Sherlock Holmes: he might not be as showy as Conan Doyle's character, but he is far more likeable, and his stories seem more likely to be real. Moreover, Chesterton's Father Brown doesn't just chase criminals, he allows the reader to learn about some interesting themes that were important when these stories were first published, but that also are important now, for example the relationship between faith and reason. He manages to that because he doesn't merely want to "catch the criminal", he also endeavors to understand human nature, and the reasons why a criminal becomes one.
The author of these mystery stories was Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936), a renowned English writer who wrote them between 1911 and 1936. His stories are as popular now as they were then, mainly to to the fact that Chesterton's style is compelling and refreshing, eminently readable and witty. Thus, these stories appeal not only to those who want to read a good book written in an exceptionally good english, but also to those who want to do exactly that without having to exhert themselves.
On the whole, I think this collection of short stories is worth buying and reading, not only once but many times. I highly enjoyed it, and I strongly recommend it to you :)
Belen Alcat
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5.0 out of 5 stars Very refreshing examples of crime genre, Jan. 13 2004
The mystery story is exemplified by the Sherlock Holmes stories. Those who haven't read them will probably know much about them from the way they have (justly) been added to the public imagination. So a good way of describing the Father Brown stories is to compare the two, as the images of Holmes are probably known to all.
Holmes is a private detective. As such, his main objective is to solve the crime. Father Brown is (obviously) a Catholic priest. His objective is to serve God by trying to better society. These two goals say a lot about how they go about solving crimes. Unlike Holmes, Brown gets close to crimes by accident (yes, that's a big suspension-of-disbelief) - as they happen amongst the families and coworkers of friends. He does not seek to "catch" the crook for the police but rather to find out what happened. At times, he lets the criminal go - and unlike the grumpy Holmes his speech (full of philosophical discussions) and actions reek of a love of humanity.
Holmes solves by logical deduction. Brown solves by a combination of intiution and a deep insight into character and circumstance. As such, the crux of many of the stories is psychological. Others rely on assumptions that people make about, say, people subservient to them. The Brown stories are therefore great satires of the early 20th century London society.
This edition has 18 stories - a quite eclectic collection and very recommended if you haven't encountered Brown before. The first one (the Blue Cross) introduces him marvelously as one of the great detectives.
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4.0 out of 5 stars The power of quiet observation, Feb. 3 2003
By 
Tom Hinkle (Tulsa, OK USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Penguin Complete Father Brown (Paperback)
A crime has occurred, often (though not always) a murder. As authorities and observers attempt to solve the mystery, often arriving at a false solution, meekly in the background is a humble, unassuming priest. Using his knowledge of the criminal mind, and often bringing to bear theology (because unsound theology is the basis of moral failure), the unnoticed priest arrives at the solution. Each time one comes to the end of these short mysteries, the reader realizes that there is some small detail that he or she missed, which was not missed by Father Brown. Thus is displayed the power of quiet observation. These short stories make for some good bedtime reading, and even profound theological reflection. The only reason I gave this volume four stars instead of five is that mystery is not personally my favorite genre. Even non-mystery lovers can enjoy these stories much as I have.
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Penguin Complete Father Brown
Penguin Complete Father Brown by G K Chesterton (Paperback - Dec 1 1986)
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