He would have been famous for just his Father Brown stories. He would have been famous for just his novels The Napoleon of Notting Hill and The Man Who Was Thursday. He would have been famous just as a literary critic…. Above all, he would have been famous just for his journalism; the thing he is least well-known for now.
Clive James, Cultural Amnesia: Notes in the Margin of My Time
As it turns out to be, it was the very thing that he is least well-known for now that had actually brought me to discover the wit and intellect of this prolific writer. I have not read much of his works, but the few essays that I have had the pleasure of reading were enough to convince me as to the depth and breadth that Chesterton’s writing has to offer.
I have yet to be properly introduced to his dear old Father Brown, so finding a complete set of these stories in such lovely Penguin editions at the recent book sales was really quite a thrill. 🙂
Father Brown, one of the most quirkily genial and lovable characters to emerge from English detective fiction, first made his appearance in The Innocence of Father Brown in 1911. That first collection of stories established G.K. Chesterton’s kindly cleric in the front rank of eccentric sleuths. This complete collection contains all the favourite Father Brown stories, showing a quiet wit and compassion that has endeared him to many, whilst solving his mysteries by a mixture of imagination and a sympathetic worldliness in a totally believable manner.
Having also just recently finished Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot’s Christmas, I am again reminded of just how fun and comforting reading these good old fashioned crime/mystery fiction can be. Which is why I was equally thrilled to find a copy of Edmund Crispin’s The Case of The Gilded Fly at the same sale. I have read quite a few good things about another of his Gervase Fen myteries, The Moving Toyshop which incidentally, has been named by P.D. James as one of the best five mysteries of all time. Pretty high praise, I would say. So, I am really looking forward to getting myself acquainted with this Professor Gervase Fen, a scholar who would much rather go about solving crimes than expound on the English Literature. 🙂
A cover like that alone would have sold me the book.