Tuesday, July 19, 2016

The Innocence of Father Brown by G. K. Chesterton

The Innocence of Father Brown by G. K. Chesterton book review

As promised, I read another book of G. K. Chesterton. The Father Brown series is said to be one of his most praised works. And I, being an avid mystery reader, decided to start my study of Chesterton through The Innocence of Father Brown. This is the first of the series.

The book talks about how Father Brown came to be involved in the solving of most crimes. How he was instrumental in the change of the life of the most notorious French criminal Flambeau. How their first meeting came to be and how Flambeau was convinced to turn his life around and become a law-abiding citizen. All credits to Father Brown's persuasion. 

The book talks about all the adventures Father Brown and Flambeau did together. How they find themselves in the middle of theft, murder and other sinister things. And how Father Brown's amazing powers of intuition and analysis often solved the mysteries of the bizarre crimes. How Flambeau became a student of Father Brown's study of human interests, frailties and oddities.

The book is a collection of short stories of the adventures of Father Brown. The stories do not come in chronological order. They are individual stories and often I can't figure out the key to the mystery. Like the other clueless characters in the stories, only when Father Brown explains himself and his observations I finally get to understand the motive and the mystery. True enough, Father Brown is the opposite of Sherlock Holmes. His powers are more intuitive rather than deductive. He gets this from his long experience of listening to people in the confessional. His exposure to human nature and frailties makes him a bit of an expert in the understanding of what makes the human mind tick. Unlike Sherlock, Father Brown is the last person you will think will be able to help solve crimes. He is a Roman Catholic priest and he has a way finding himself in the vicinity of most of the mysteries. 

I enjoyed the stories but I think I would have appreciated them more if the stories were in a way part of one story, not separate stories altogether. I wanted them to be chapters of one cohesive journey of Father Brown and Flambeau. I wanted them interconnected and there is a transition how one story came to be out of a particular event in another or previous story. I would have preferred them to be like that. Hopefully, the next set of stories will be more connected. I will have to find that out.

I gave this three stars.