Chesterton’s stories in Complete Father Brown Stories were initially published in four volumes. In this particular collection, readers can enjoy The Innocence Of Father Brown, The Secret Of Father Brown, The Wisdom Of Father Brown, and The Incredulity Of Father Brown.
Father Brown, a round and simple-faced man, who is clumsy, amiable, and has a profound understanding of human motivations, is the clerical detective at the center of Chesterton’s Father Brown mysteries. He is frequently assisted by a criminal who is now reformed, named Hercule Flambeau. Chesterton’s title character was based on a real life Roman Catholic Priest named John O’Connor, who helped the author convert to Roman Catholicism, in 1922.
The character of Father Brown, who first appeared in a story called The Blue Cross, was frequently compared to Holmes. However, unlike Sherlock Holmes who used deduction to draw conclusions from a series of clues, Father Brown relied heavily on intuition. In The Secret Of Father Brown, readers get a first hand glimpse of Brown’s investigation methods. In the story, he points out that first he tracks down the murderer, and then imagines how he could’ve planned and committed the murders, as well as the reasons behind them. According to Brown, once he has completely taken on the feelings of the murderer, it is easy for him to pinpoint who the guilty party is.
In 1974, many of Chesterton’s Father Brown stories were turned into a thirteen part television series.