This week on my Lockdown Podcast In GAD We Trust, the cream of G.K. Chesterton’s stories about his crime-solving Roman Catholic priest as selected by John who blogs at Countdown John’s Christie Journal.
It went like this: John earmarked his ten favourite Father Brown stories, I read them, and we picked through their finer points, looking at the genre principles Chesterton was deploying, and the wider prospect of Brown as a character, his stature in comparison to some other Great Detectives, and what influence we think the earlier stories may have had on the forthcoming Golden Age of Detective Fiction.
Except that I accidentally read only nine of John’s choices — I did read 10 stories, don’t worry, I have a Maths degree and would almost certainly have noticed if I was one short — but hopefully that won’t disrupt things too much. We also get into some fairly spoiler-rich details, too, so I’ll provide below the times that our look at each story starts for anyone wishing to skip over anything they’ve not yet read.
Skip to the following times (h:mm:ss) for each story in order to avoid — or find! — spoilers:
‘The Secret Garden’ (1910) – 0:09:26
‘The Hammer of God’ (1910) – 0:12:54
‘The Sign of the Broken Sword’ (1911) – 0:19:33
‘The Eye of Apollo’ (1911) – 0:24:24
‘The Honour of Israel Gow’ (1911) – 0:33:54
‘The Strange Crime of John Boulnois’ (1913) – 0:41:09
‘The Oracle of the Dog’ (1923) – 0:46:47
‘The Dagger with Wings’ (1924) – 0:58:08
‘The Miracle of Moon Crescent’ (1924) – 1:02:43
‘The Blast of the Book’ (1933) – 1:05:37
Thanks are due to John for suggesting this and getting me to spend some more time with Chesterton, to Jonny Berliner for providing the music, and to you, the audience, for being, y’know, the audience.
John would also like it known that he has a spare copy of the first collection The Innocence of Father Brown (1910) which he’s willing to post free of charge to anyone in the UK who might be inspired to try Chesterton for themselves. Contact him via his blog here if you want to be in the running, and the winning name will be drawn out of a hat next weekend.