G. K. Chesterton’s Father Brown is perhaps the most lovable amateur detective ever created. This short, shabby priest with his cherubic, round face attracts situations that baffle everyone - except Father Brown and his rather naïve wisdom.
The twelve enthralling stories in this book take Father Brown from London to Cornwall, from Italy to France, as he gets involved with bandits, treason, murder, curses, and an American crime-detection machine. And every problem he comes up against he solves with a simplicity of argument that leaves the other characters wondering, “Why didn’t I think of that?”
Stories include:

“The Absence of Mr. Glass,”
“The Paradise of Thieves,”
“The Duel of Dr. Hirsch,"
“The Man in the Passage”
“The Mistake of the Machine”
“The Head of Caesar”
“The Purple Wig”
“The Perishing of the Pendragons,”
“The God of the Gongs,”
“The Salad of Colonel Cray,”
“The Strange Crime of John Boulnois”
“The Fairy Tale of Father Brown”
G. K. CHESTERTON (1874–1936) authored thousands of works, including compilations of his voluminous journalism, novels, short stories, essays, biography, history, criticism, Christian apologetics, poetry, and plays. His work is characterized by tremendous zest and energy, a mastery of paradox, a robust humor, and forthright devotion.
Public Domain (P)1992 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By Ms. E. Morgan on 25-08-18

A Great Mixture of Crime, Comedy and Compassion

The Second Father Brown Short Story Compilation:

Father Brown is an endearing character who is able to use intelligence, experience humour and compassion in the detection of crime and mystery.

The narrator; Frederick Davidson is an acquired taste but it does not much detract from the stories.

Please be aware that this book was complied in 1914, so some of the language and opinions are a bit out of date / archaic. It also (unsurprisingly for a book featuring a catholic priest) is is written from unashamedly positive Christian and Catholic viewpoint.

Full Story Listing:

1. "The Absence of Mr Glass" - Who is the sinister 'Mr Glass'?
2. "The Paradise of Thieves" - Highway Robbery
3. "The Duel of Dr Hirsch" - Politics and reputation
4. "The Man in the Passage" - A rare case of Father Brown as a witness in a criminal trial
5. "The Mistake of the Machine" - Lie detector tests on trial
6. "The Head of Caesar" - Coin Collecting
7. "The Purple Wig" - What terrible secret s it hiding?
8. "The Perishing of the Pendragons" - A family curse?
9. "The God of the Gongs" - Boxing mystery
10. "The Salad of Colonel Cray" - Who stole the seasoning?
11. "The Strange Crime of John Boulnois" - Neighbours & Alibis
12. "The Fairy Tale of Father Brown" - Ally or Enemy?

I thoroughly enjoyed the book and have re-'read' it many times, I think story 10 is the best.

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2 out of 5 stars
By Ceripol on 23-07-15

Badly chosen narrator

The narrator for this story has a supercilious, slightly nasal, sneering voice. He is completely wrong for the Father Brown stories which are about a gentle, unassuming priest. It put me right off. Try another narrator!!

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By John on 05-12-12

Good Mysteries, Great Stories

There are those for whom everything G. K. Chesterton said or wrote is worth quoting--especially in an argument. I know because I used to be one of them. Having let my conversion to Catholicism sink in over the course of a dozen years, I've mellowed somewhat but I still enjoy Chesterton immensely. In fact, being able to approach him with less reverence makes his work much more enjoyable.

As mystery stories these are entertaining enough--though many in this collection and others turn on double identities, so much so that after a while the listener starts expecting them. And while I always enjoy Chesterton's prose style, bristling as it does with insights that range from the merely descriptive to the deeply social, religious and psychological, it can sometimes become too noticeable and slide into apparent affectation. Finally, his characters have a bad way of slipping into his prose style whenever they attempt to describe or narrate (see the girl's bit of autobiography in "The Head of Caesar").


Chesterton's irreverent attitude toward everything his age held (and ours holds) in such high reverence--machinery, technology, psychology, science--and his quiet, persistent reminders that the truth never changes, no matter how much we believe we have, are worth the price of admission every time. While the mysteries are intriguing enough, the commentary they provoke are what really matter:

"What we all dread most," said the priest in a low voice, "is a maze with no centre. That is why atheism is only a nightmare."

"But he died penitent—he just died of being penitent. He couldn't bear what he'd done."

For the whole air was dense with the morbidity of blackmail, which is the most morbid of human things, because it is a crime concealing a crime; a black plaster on a blacker wound.

"There's a disadvantage in a stick pointing straight," answered the other. "What is it? Why, the other end of the stick always points the opposite way."

And Frederick Davidson is the perfect reader to deliver stuff like this.

Sherlock Holmes asserted a detective should never reveal his methods. But Father Brown is a detective with no method other than his grounding in ultimate truth that permits him to see things as they actually are. And that's a mystery that can be more satisfying than the best who-done-it.

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9 of 9 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Elizabeth on 23-04-16

Had to read more Father Brown after the first book

What did you love best about The Wisdom of Father Brown?

The stories, like the first book, are wonderful and the mysteries are great fun to solve. As always Father Brown is right in the thick of things, however, Flambeau is almost always present in these stories, which adds a whole new dynamic. I liked that it's almost "the adventures of Father Brown and Flambeau."

Which character – as performed by Frederick Davidson – was your favorite?

The performance was perfect! The narrator sounds just as you think Father Brown ought to and can then seamlessly move into a French accent for Flambeau. There isn't a whole lot of changing the voice to match a character, save if they are notated as being from a specific country of origin, which I liked as it seemed to keep the flow of the book better.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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