The Metaphysical Mysteries of G.K. Chesterton

A Critical Study of the Father Brown Stories and Other Detective Fiction


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About the Book

G.K. Chesterton’s Father Brown stories are widely considered to be some of the finest detective short stories ever published, offering vivid writing, brilliant puzzles, biting social criticism, and metaphysical explorations of life’s great questions. This book presents the first in-depth analysis of his works both as classics of the detective genre and as meaningful philosophical inquiries. The Father Brown stories are examined along with Chesterton’s less well known fiction, including the short stories about Mr. Pond, Gabriel Gale, Basil and Rupert Grant, Horne Fisher, Dr. Adrian Hyde and Philip Swayne, and the novels The Man Who Was Thursday and Manalive.

About the Author(s)

Laird R. Blackwell is a humanities professor emeritus at Sierra Nevada College in the Lake Tahoe area of western Nevada, where he taught psychology and literature for 31 years. He is the author of four critical studies of detective fiction for McFarland and the recipient of nominations for an Edgar Award and an Agatha Award.

Bibliographic Details

Laird R. Blackwell

Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 188
Bibliographic Info: bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2018
pISBN: 978-1-4766-7182-6
eISBN: 978-1-4766-3137-0
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vi
Preface: All That Mysterious Stuff 1
Introduction: The Puppet Play of Spirit and Form 5
One: Preludes to Father Brown 15
Two: The Innocence of Father Brown (1911): Rigid Ideology and the Fixed Idea 26
Three: The Wisdom of Father Brown (1914): Appearance and Illusion 49
Four: The Incredulity of Father Brown (1926): Susceptibility to Belief 63
Five: The Secret of Father Brown (1927): The Evil of the Other 77
Six: The Scandal of Father Brown (1935): Confident Humility 93
Seven: Colors Other Than Brown 109
Eight: Color, Crimes, and Chimeras 158
Bibliography 173
Index 177

Book Reviews & Awards

Finalist, Edgar Allan Poe Award—Mystery Writers of America