The Collected Works of G.K. Chesterton: The Father Brown Stories

by G.K. Chesterton
797 pages, Mystery
Reviewed by Ronja

Great for everyone either interested in mysteries or in theology, or in both!


The Father Brown Stories consist of 52 short stories about the Roman Catholic priest Father Brown. Though his outward appearance, his short legs and his mooncalf face would never suggest too much intelligence, Father Brown turns into a brilliant detective whenever he has to face crime and sin. But his ambition is neither the criminal's punishment nor his own glory - he wants to save lost souls and to bring them back on the path of goodness, and that often means letting them escape from earthly judgement...


The stories, and especially their hero, prove a strong sense of morality. However, the strongest value is not justice, but forgiveness and love. In Father Brown's opinion, the punishment of criminals can help them to find peace again. Also the way of his solving the mysteries prove his love and understanding for every human being: Not mere reason is being used, but feeling and intuition, which Father Brown himself explained this way: "I try to get inside a man (...)Till I really am a murderer. And when I feel like the murderer, of course, I know who he is."

Spiritual Content

There is no magic in the stories, but Father Brown gets in contact with lots of people who have a non-Christian point of view. However, their psychology is well analyzed and their mistakes shown clearly.


A lot of victims are killed in very cruel ways, and some people have a fight.

Drug and Alcohol Content

Some people who appear have trouble with over-drinking.

Sexual Content

Some kisses; other forms of sexuality are only mentioned, but never described.

Crude or Profane Language or Content

A lot of criminals use a considerable number of swearwords, but the stories never lose their high standard of language.


The stories are excellent for their portraying very different social backgrounds and their abysses; great suspense is created and a little bit of theology included in each story. The characters are not always distinct; almost everybody has a good part and an evil part of his soul. However, the deeds of these people are very clearly either good or bad. A delighting and very intelligent book, but surely not suitable for children younger than 14!

Fun Score: 4
Values Score: 3.5
Written for Age: adult

Review Rating:

Did we miss something? Let us know!

This review is brought to you by Ronja.
Read more reviews by Ronja