I read somewhere that if you want to enhance your brain in a playful way without going through cumbersome processes, read detective stories.
“Father Brown Stories” is penned by G.K. Chesterton, a renowned writer during the early 1990’s due to his works regarding philosophy, theology and literature, to name a few. The book is a collection of short stories about a detective priest, Father Brown, a short plump man who have a keen sense of unveiling mysteries. He is not officially a “detective”, but because of many cases he solved he is more than qualified to be one. On the “Queer Feet”, he solved a case by listening to someone’s feet!
It is exciting to see a priest being a detective, I reckon Father Brown is the first of its kind. Priest is one of the dullest occupation there is. I’m not degrading the quality of worship to God, or discouraging you, but you have to agree reading the same book every year, conducting masses every Sunday, secluding your self daily (hourly)for solitary prayer, hearing not-of-your-business confessions knock the adventure in you (or is it just me?) However, Chesterton makes the character of a priest exciting and engaging rather than boring you to sleep in the pew. He solves problem and still manages to mix valuable life lessons. (I hope I didn’t sound blasphemous.)
G.K. Chesterton is a prolific writer. According to Wikipedia, he has written “around 80 books, several hundred poems, some 200 short stories, 4000 essays, and several plays.” Yes that is some numbers, I doubt if I can ever reached that record even though I started writing at a young age.
He starts every story in cinematic effect. I call it cinematic for one the narration reads like a script and the other is he doesn’t start at Father Brown directly. Chesterton, in most cases, defers his protagonist’s appearance to the end or in the middle. In the very first story, “The Blue Cross”, the whole narration follows another detective and ends in conclusion of Father Brown.
Chesterton’s semi-poetic writing style has attracted many of his contemporary writers. He has a rather unusual pool of phrases. In fact, G.K. Chesteron’s phrases has been quoted many times already. One of his phrase has been the basis of Evelyn Waugh’s novel Brideshead Revisited and countless detective TV series.
One might consider his works already a classic since they have been alive for a century. The only problem of the stories is that it is very formulaic. Most of the story starts by the execution of crime and Father Brown explains the solution in a deep words and since the time era is different, I sometimes have trouble comprehending the word structure . Even the people around him, which some of them are dying to hear the answer, are confused or annoyed by not getting direct to the point. That said I don’t favor all the stories. My fault is I can’t justify how good Chesterton’s detective stories since this is my first detective book. I have yet to read other books, say, Sherlock Holmes and Thursday Next to permit a reasonable judgment.
The stories are compiled into five volumes, but I only read the first two. The good news is you only have to read the first story, The Blue Cross, to know if you like Father Brown or not and the better news is that it is available in the internet. Read it here.