Sherlock Holmes is the most recognizable character in world literature – more so than Hamlet and Leopold Bloom – and even more than Frodo. In his original incarnation, he is the greatest detective ever, and this has continued through his multifarious resurrections in diverse media. In any study of the classic British mystery, G.K. Chesterton’s Father Brown easily ranks second, while actually being consistently more logical than the immortal Holmes. Chesterton helped to both define the rules for writing detective fiction and also assiduously kept to those ideas of fairness whereas Holmes frequently violated them. In addition, Father Brown – despite his vow of celibacy – sired a legion of clerical detectives of various creeds who with more or less success juggled their pastoral duties with their forensic avocations. The present volume attempts to collect a flavoring of the wit and wisdom of the famed priest detective – with sayings both by and about him. Not unexpectedly, the collection also provides a window onto the wit and wisdom of his creator. While quotations always lose something when removed from their context, their isolation might also highlight a layer of meaning otherwise concealed. G.K. Chesterton was a genius cut from a whole cloth; every selection of his work in various genres somehow turns out to be an accurate reflection of the magnificent and gargantuan whole. Chestertonians and Brownians should find this work a useful or at least enjoyable walk through the dark but illumined groves of the British mystery.
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