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The Queer Feet: A Father Brown Mystery

The Queer Feet: A Father Brown Mystery

Written by G. K. Chesterton

Narrated by James Arthur


The Queer Feet: A Father Brown Mystery

Written by G. K. Chesterton

Narrated by James Arthur

ratings:
3.5/5 (15 ratings)
Length:
47 minutes
Publisher:
Released:
Jan 1, 2009
ISBN:
9781601362339
Format:
Audiobook

Description

Listeners will delight in these masterful chronicles of the adventures and mishaps of Father Brown. Small, round-faced and engagingly innocent, Brown is a Roman Catholic priest from East Anglia. He also happens to be a top-notch detective, possessing that rarest of all gifts - an intuition that never fails.
Publisher:
Released:
Jan 1, 2009
ISBN:
9781601362339
Format:
Audiobook


About the author

G. K. Chesterton (1874–1936) was a prolific English journalist and author best known for his mystery series featuring the priest-detective Father Brown and for the metaphysical thriller The Man Who Was Thursday. Baptized into the Church of England, Chesterton underwent a crisis of faith as a young man and became fascinated with the occult. He eventually converted to Roman Catholicism and published some of Christianity’s most influential apologetics, including Heretics and Orthodoxy. 


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3.3
15 ratings / 20 Reviews
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Reader reviews

  • (3/5)
    I've been meaning to read something by G. K. Chesterton for some time now, so when a book site reminded me of the author, I tried this one in audio. I failed to look into this book before I listened to it, so didn't realize these were part of a series of short stories published between 1910 and 1936. That explains why the stories felt so disjointed to me.Father Brown solves a crime in each story. The language of the times was rather charming. The occasional and casual racial epithets were not, but they weren't meant as hateful, just typical of white society then. As was the politically incorrect (and hurtful) reference to a mentally challenged character.To me, although there was a bit of continuity in the stories by way of familiar characters, to me the stories seemed too much the same. While it was fun to read this one book, I don't feel compelled to read more by the author.
  • (4/5)
    It was really interesting to read a book published in 1911, when British Colonialism was still a thing and prejudiced thinking was much more rampant. I enjoyed the character of Father Brown. He is a bit quirky and witty, always saying the right little remark at just the right time to make me smile a bit. But I did have a few moments of raised eyebrows at Chesterton for some of his prejudices coming through in a few short stories, especially the ones which involved characters of color (or really anyone not 'white European). That being said, it was worth the read even if to have the experience of recognizing some of the backward thinking during that time period and seeing it intertwined within a few of the stories.
  • (5/5)
    I generally don't read a lot of short stories, but these short mysteries are beautifully crafted and address similar issues as those raised in other mystery/sci fi/ religion/ethics writers of the time. That is what fascinates me, I think, that writers of this era saw literature not as a means to waste "beach time," but as a serious examination of moral principles and the structure of society. Also, they were in the midst of great theological upheaval and they were well-educated and widely read themselves. Superb. I would note that I discovered these are much better if you take them one or two at a time rather than trying to read the book clear through. The stories are in some ways rather similar and too many in a row can get tiresome.
  • (3/5)
    Gee, it must be nice to live in a world where, when confronted, the criminal confesses all the details of a crime and everything is wrapped up neatly half an hour after the body is found.
    This book is a little odd because we do not see the crime from the view of the investigator or the criminal or even the victim but by various 3rd party views. I ended up feeling disengaged by this style. There is no emotional connnection. But I did find the characters and settings are very descriptive and interesting and the stories themselves are quick and to the point.
    However this book was written in the 1800's and it shows when anyone who is not caucasian-english is part of the story; very much a product of its time - it is not racist, so much as insulting to anyone who is not male, white and catholic. But what do I know? I'm just an "empty headed atheist".
  • (3/5)
    Uneven quality -- Some of the short stories were too "atmospheric" for my taste while some were excellent.
  • (4/5)
    Father Brown is a short, inconspicuous, meek Catholic priest who is present at all the right places at the right time. He and his friend Flambeau (a former thief now a private detective courtesy Father Brown) in this set of twelve short stories solve many crimes. Father Brown does not believe in handing over the criminal to the authorities but instead he makes him realize his folly and take the right step.GK Chesterton is truely a masterful story teller.
  • (2/5)
    A classic collection of Father Brown mysteries. The French master criminal Flambeau is repeatedly beaten by this unremarkable priest, before he decides to join Father Brown in solving a series of perplexing mysteries. I won't say this was the greatest, but with my track record with classics, this was okay.
  • (4/5)
    An entertaining collection of Father Brown mysteries. The dastardly French master criminal Flambeau is foiled time and again by the unassuming priest, before he finally gives up and joins Father Brown in solving a series of perplexing conundrums. It's difficult not to have a big grin on your face as Father Brown explains how the inexplicable could have occurred. Great fun.
  • (1/5)
    The Innocence of Father Brown is a series of short stories featuring the detective skills of Father Brown. Father Brown as a short, stumpy Roman Catholic priest, with shapeless clothes and a large umbrella, and an uncanny “insight into human evil." I found this set of stories dated, boring and difficult to get through. I ended my “torture” about half way through the collection. 0 out of 5 stars.
  • (3/5)
    Ok. Good thinking material, but not so great as mysteries.
  • (3/5)
    Quaint little stories that are very much of their time (first published in 1911) but easy enough to read and enjoy
  • (3/5)
    Short stories about the brilliant Catholic priest, mostly involving his friend Flambeau who is a reformed thief.

    Some clever plots, some rather convoluted and obscure. Some rather nasty murders and some light humour. Great for reading aloud to teenagers.
  • (4/5)
    Hmmm. Well, I discovered that almost all my favorite (as in memorable) Father Brown stories are in this, the first book; I also discovered that I don't like even all the stories in here. The first couple - Father Brown's introduction, Valentin's end, the one with the diamonds, the one with the waiters, a couple more - are very good. Father Brown determines what's going on by noticing what's actually happening and figuring out what it means. Then there's a couple where he gets ridiculously mystical - stares off into the distance declaring that something is WRONG here, and solves the mystery by confession extracted by a piercing gaze. Bleah. Prince Sarandine annoyed me the most, I think - Flambeau's investigation never turned up his name? Really? And very convenient timing. Really silly. Not to mention the woman's role, or lack of same. The last few are better, though still a little mystical - the general, the hammer, the sun-god, the cheerful man... And he never deals with anyone - a couple confess after he (privately) explains to them what they're doing. Flambeau eventually repents. But that doctor - he says he feels remorse, but a second kill is much easier than a first one. And in the sun-god story, they both leave untouched. So, having read Father Brown for the first time in ages, I find I don't like him nearly as much as I thought I did. I think I'll read the other books too, and see if they're worth keeping at all.
  • (1/5)
    Really awful Christian propaganda posing as murder mysteries. I was poised to like Chesterton, based solely on a few of his quotes I’d stumbled upon and Neil Gaiman’s good opinion. It’s true that the mysteries themselves are quite interesting. Unfortunately, Chesterton has a narrowness of view. In the first story of the collection, the clever police chief Valentin is the main character. I quite liked him, and looked forward to more interactions between him (an atheist) and Father Brown (a saintly priest). Unfortunately, Chesterton had no intention of writing a debate of any kind—in the very next story, Father Brown says,”Valentin is an honest man, if being mad for an arguable cause is honesty. But did you never see in that cold, grey eye of his that he is mad! He would do anything, anything, to break what he calls the superstition of the Cross. He has fought for it and starved for it, and now he has murdered for it.” And thence, Valentin kills himself, unable to deal with The Truth of Christianity. Father Brown’s incessant saintliness in all the stories is bad enough, but a few stories later he meets a "Hindoo." This conversation ensues,

    “"It's very beautiful," said the priest in a low, dreaming voice; "the colours are very beautiful. But it's the wrong shape."
    "What for?" asked Flambeau, staring.
    "For anything. It's the wrong shape in the abstract. Don't you ever feel that about Eastern art? The colours are intoxicatingly lovely; but the shapes are mean and bad-- deliberately mean and bad. I have seen wicked things in a Turkey carpet."
    "Mon Dieu!" cried Flambeau, laughing.
    "They are letters and symbols in a language I don't know; but I know they stand for evil words," went on the priest, his voice growing lower and lower. "The lines go wrong on purpose—like serpents doubling to escape."
    "What the devil are you talking about?" said the doctor with a loud laugh.
    Flambeau spoke quietly to him in answer. "The Father sometimes gets this mystic's cloud on him," he said; "but I give you fair warning that I have never known him to have it except when there was some evil quite near."
    "Oh, rats!" said the scientist.
    "Why, look at it," cried Father Brown, holding out the crooked knife at arm's length, as if it were some glittering snake.
    "Don't you see it is the wrong shape? Don't you see that it has no hearty and plain purpose? It does not point like a spear. It does not sweep like a scythe. It does not look like a weapon. It looks like an instrument of torture."”

    And if *that’s* not bad enough, shortly thereafter the “scientist” is proven to be a murderer, and commits suicide, complete with a suicide note that says Father Brown and Christianity were right about everything all along.

    The author pounds home the Anglo Christians=good, everyone else=bad message pretty hard. Not a story goes by without religion playing a major part, and there’s racism every single time a character of color pops up. (Note that the Asian man-servant has a “hacking” and “dreadful” accent, and “his slits of eyes almost faded from his face in one fat Chinese sneer.” The other characters feel an instinctive revulsion against him, “Merton felt an almost bodily sickness at the sight of him; and he muttered to Gilder: "Surely you would take Miss Armstrong's word against his?"” A better person might have leavened his character’s racism with an authorial tone that condemned or mocked their stance; instead, Chesterton clearly agrees.)

    Dear Chesterton: I have better things to do with my life than read your bigotry.
  • (3/5)
    I've been listening to the stories most of my life, but mostly random bits when I was falling asleep/sick, so this is the first time I've ever listened to this book straight from start to finish.

    Anyway, some of the stories I liked, some of them I didn't. I've always found the robots one extremely creepy, but mostly I just find the absurdity of the stories rather amusing. It is a product of its time, and far from perfect, but the language is beautiful to listen to.
  • (4/5)
    I noticed that there is a new TV adaptation of Chesterton's Father Brown (though it seems to be only related by names and titles rather than any actual detail from the originals) which encouraged me to re-read the originals. Here Chesterton introduces the outwardly simple Father Brown who again and again proves that his knowledge of human nature (gained from the confessional) and his theologically inspired belief in the rational over the supernatural give him the advantage over the more credulous unbelievers when it comes to solving crime.
  • (4/5)
    He was one of the great humanitarian French freethinkers; and the only thing wrong with them is that they make mercy even colder than justice.I remember reading some Father Brown stories at least 20 years ago, but possibly as long as 30 years ago. All I remembered was the solution to two of the stories, "The Invisible Man" from this collection, and another story in which people had been seeing monsters at a theatre. I had entirely forgotten about Father Brown's friend Flambeau, and one thing that did seem odd is that in the first few stories where Flambeau is still a criminal, neither he nor Father Brown nor the narrator even hinted that Father Brown and Flambeau had ever met before, or might have recognised each other. Father Brown is a Miss Marple type of detective, someone that no-one expects to be any help in investigating a murder, but who comes up with insights based on their own life experience. The murders aren't all that involved, some of them are very easy to solve. Father Brown manages to get some religious philosophising into every story, and the identity of some of the murderers make it clear where the author's religious sympathies lie.What I do like a lot, is the scene-setting. This can often be quite minimal in short stories due to the need to hurry the plot along, but Chesterton's descriptions of people, places, weather and time of day are strongly visual, and give the reader a vivid mental picture of events.Between the silver ribbon of morning and the green glittering ribbon of sea, the boat touched Harwich and let loose a swarm of folk like flies, among whom the man we must follow was by no means conspicuous—nor wished to be.
  • (3/5)
    Father Brown will never be my favorite detective, but I enjoyed getting to know him in this collection of 12 short stories. His physical description reminds me of Hercule Poirot, while his methods remind me just a bit of Sherlock Holmes. If you're the type of reader who enjoys trying to piece together clues to solve the crime before the solution is revealed, the Father Brown stories probably aren't for you. Chesterton doesn't share everything that Father Brown observes until the final summation. Several of the stories have elements of the fantastic, so it might be a good choice for fantasy readers looking for a change.The first story, “The Blue Cross”, is my favorite, and it's a great introduction to the subsequent stories. The most memorable passage in the story explains why Father Brown makes such a good detective. When the cornered culprit expresses surprise that Father Brown knows so much about crime and criminals, Father Brown replies: Has it never struck you that a man who does next to nothing but hear men's real sins is not likely to be wholly unaware of human evil?
  • (4/5)
    This book was a series of surprises for me, all stemming from my own ignorance. To begin with, I wasn't expecting it to be a series of short stories. I had also somehow assumed that G. K. Chesterton was an American writer, so was startled to find that he was British.But having got over those two hurdles of the unexpected, I enjoyed the stories. They're straight-forward lateral-thinking-style murder mysteries. Some more believable than others. In some ways I found them hard to date - some seemed more old-fashioned, some more modern. Which is probably symptomatic of the era in which they were written (published in 1911).
  • (5/5)
    This is the second of Chesterton's works that I've read. I can only describe it as I might Father Brown - quirky genius. Here printed are 12 short tales of murder and mystery, loosely interwoven. "The Blue Cross" was one of my favorites. The simple inconspicuous deep cunning of Father Brown was most blatantly exhibited for us here. It was like witnessing a feather render an anvil unto powder. Here we first meet our two most important reoccurring characters - the brilliantly creative criminal Flambeau, and the relatively short lived head of the Paris Police, Valentin. A most satisfying tale. I loved the bizarre market scenes which led us helter skelter to the conclusion.Next, "The Secret Garden". I liked the quaint closed-house dinner party murder, though this one did spill out onto the street for a bit. I was somewhat taken aback by the violent nature of the crime. Chesterton seems to enjoy a bit of light gore. We were just coming to know the atheist intellect of Paris' finest investigator - that of Valentin. Ironically, the fellow falls from his office. Why? He was another atheist who could not get the Church off his mind - it drove him to murder. Chesterton tells us that "on the blind face of the suicide was more than the pride of Cato"."The Queer Feet" was one of Chesterton's queerer tales, which is always a good thing. Chesterton seems obsessed with clubs and secret societies. This is a tale of one such fishy society, and their expensive dinner ware. The criminal Monsieur Flambeau is once again at work here. Again also, Father Brown so far outwits the witty Flambeau that Flambeau surrenders and repents; whereas in the first story, he only surrendered. This marks the turning point for Flambeau, as the last story marked the dark turning point for Valentin, which I find ethically paradoxical."The Flying Stars" is a Dickensian Christmas tale, as it so proclaims itself. Chesterton must have liked Dickens, as a later story references Mr. Pickwick. Again we are shown the artistic criminal ingenuity of Flambeau; and the greater critical thinking and deductive reasoning of Father Brown. These two are constantly locked in battles of the mind. Here Flambeau is shown by Father Brown that crime always creates victimization. Again, being an honorable criminal, Flambeau repents. His sin-nature is now in its death throes; he has seen the Light, and obtained the knowledge of the error of his ways by means of Father Brown - Father Brown saw Flambeau and understood him. Flambeau could not hide from Father Brown, nor could he deceive Father Brown. He does the only logical thing - submits to what he knows within himself to be right."The Invisible Man" finds Flambeau diametrically metamorphosed into—what!, yes!—a detective! It really was his most natural occupational choice as a man who had turned from an ingenious criminal to become a man respectable. The line is thin between the two fields; and as Chesterton has shown us—not only with Flambeau, but also with Valentin—the fields often transpose and become interpolated. Ironically, in one's case this is always good; in the case of the other, always damnable. And yet, here, we do not even encounter Flambeau or Father Brown until nearly the end of the story, which is not a story of a love triangle, but a story of a love trapezoid, having four very unequal sides. Poor Angus. I might note that to find humanoid robots in the story was a delightful surprise."The Honour of Israel Gow" was a nice Scottish gothic tale of honour that I'm not sure I fully understood. It seems there was no crime, though certainly some strangeness of events. I enjoyed the scenery, the piles of snuff, the skull in the potato garden, and the digressions of Father Brown and Flambeau."The Wrong Shape" was about an opium addict poet, his miserable wife, his live-in Indian guru and his doctor. A surprise ending, very memorable. Don't trust the doc for your health."The Sins of Prince Saradine" was highly entertaining. Old bloodlines, dark secrets, duels... It was a bit maddening that Flambeau did no more than fish throughout the story. I really don't see how Prince Saradine could live with himself, much less, laugh at the ending of it all; and gads! how much more of a deranged creature was the woman, the mother, the co-murderer of not only her husband to whom she was unfaithful, but the Prince's brother and her own son who will quietly hang!"The Hammer of God" was interesting in that it dealt with piety that had to live alongside impiety. The pious Bohun brother didn't handle it too well. Just think of Father Brown - he is the epitomical high man in low places. By the grace of God he is not tainted."The Eye of Apollo" was a strange story of paganism and neopaganism, and greed. Blinding is the sun and blind was Miss Pauline. Interesting that here Chesterton referenced another lover of paradox, Nietzsche."The Sign of the Broken Sword" was a military story which shows us that what we glorify may not at all be that which is glorious. "The Three Tools of Death" was fun, because, of course, it took place on a train, mostly!I'll definitely be searching the bookstores for more of Chesterton and more of Father Brown! Excellent!