Saturday, August 25, 2012

The Incredulity of Father Brown by G.K. Chesterton

Continuing my reading into the Father Brown Series, and having read The Innocence of Father Brown and then the Wisdom of Father Brown, I have now corollary moved to the The Incredulity of Father Brown, which is chronologically the third book in the Father Brown series. I'm going to do capsule reviews of the eight short parables which make up The Innocence of Father Brown.

The Resurrection of Father Brown - Father Brown is perambulating in a South American town, when he is struck by two men who come from nowhere and leave the inconspicuous priest lifeless, but wait is he really dead? or is at an elaborate scheme against Christianity and the Church. No mystery here, this is the worst opening story that a book could have. The characterization is so pathetic that it is difficult to remember and care about the characters, they just seem too fanatic for my taste, either a character is too religious or too atheist. The story serves as a reminder to everyone who have forgotten the virtues and nobleness of Catholicism and the ignobility and vices of the heathen religions and the depravity of Atheism.

The Arrow of Heaven - Father Brown on his visit to America is whisked away to solve a baffling mystery. A  plutocrat is being threatened by a monomaniac who will stop at nothing to get his covetous hands on a Coptic Cup, which is of great intrinsic and monetary value. The monomaniac has already slain two men for that cup and now the plutocrat might become his third victim. When Father Brown reaches to meet the man he is already dead and has apparently been shot by an arrow through the heart, but this is an impossible crime  as he is sitting in a tower with no other building in propinquity, he is alone in his room and the only entrance to his room is being closely watched. The best story in the book, although with a little cogitation you can arrive both at the identity as well as the method employed by the murderer. I can also think of a
TV Serial(Death in Paradise) where this method was employed but in the opposite way.

The Oracle of The Dog - No one can explain how Colonel Druce was murdered, the dagger with which he was killed is missing, the summer house in which he died was inaccessible at one entrance and the other entrance was watched by a chain of witnesses who confirm each other, yet the man was killed and nobody saw anyone walk in or out from the summerhouse. I had felt the story was quite good till I read the end, which is a complete copout solution, it is a locked room mystery without the room being properly locked, also the identity of the murderer does become fairly obvious when it is conspicuously thrust in the readers face how the crime could not have been committed by this person.

The Miracle of Moon Crescent - Warren Wynd lives on the 14th floor of his apartment building, his room where he is working is surrounded by four men, who are waiting outside it to meet him. But then how did Wynd manage to hang himself on a tree, a little distance from his apartment when he was supposed to be working in his room. A very interesting premise with even more interesting and hilarious characters, the solution to the book might leave a novice reader stupefied, but I was able to digest it...only till the time the author introduced the motive, the motive behind this incredible murder is so stupid and trivial that even the Jessical Lal murder seems to have some credence when compared with this. The solution of the murder is a quite similar to Murder in Mesopotamia by Agatha Christie.

The Curse of the Golden Cross - A monomaniac(they seem to be in abundant in the Father Brown stories) is threatening an archaeologist to not to lay his hands on an amulet of ancient Christian origins, but the obstinate archaeologist ignores these warning and commits sacrilege, which brings down a terrible curse on him and his  accomplices. This story is a bit boring and the ending is a little confusing and the identity of the monomaniac become clear because of a writing flaw which Chesterton introduces. Third class story with very weak characters.

The Dagger with Wings - Another contender for the best story in the book. A man has murdered two men and is planning to murder for a third time, the intended victim is the brother of the other two victims and is now staying alone in his house on the hill. Father Brown reaches this person to help him but very soon founds the murderer himself dead outside the victims house sprawled across unbroken snow. How did he get so close to the house without leaving footsteps on the snow? I think this was the first story to use the no footprints in the snow routine which John Dickson Carr used in She Died a Lady, The White Priory Murders and also in the Hollow Man.

The Doom of the Darnaways  - There is a terrible curse on the Darnaways, whoever marries the Darnaways heir after every seven generation would be struck down at seven along with the heir himself, with such a terrible fate looming on the Darnaways someone was bound to think of murder. The setting of the story is in a underground ruin which helps in building the atmosphere and the murder and mystery have a decent explanation. It is only that Father Brown is such a one dimensional character that he keeps annoying with his moral and religious bigotry.

The Ghost of Gideon Wise - Three millionaires are murdered on the same night, the police think of this as a plot by the Bolsheviks, but when one of the dead mans ghost shows up outside his own mansion, the killer is forced to confess in sheer panic, but the ghost has an agenda of his own. Ingenious plot with a workable mystery, a decent read.

I'm giving this 2 stars out of 5, too many negatives and very few positives.

Where can you buy it? It for free and you can download it from ?Gutenberg.

1 comment:

  1. You read mysteries written by a Catholic, and you complain the mysteries reek of Catholic biases? Your review is biased by your personal bias against Catholicism.


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