I’ve long been a fan of G.K. Chesterton. His wit, for one. Perhaps you heard of the time, during WWI, when a lady asked why he was not on the Front. His response: “If you go round to the side, you will see that I am.”
Truly, what’s not the love?
Of course, in terms of literature, I’m most familiar with his apologetics. As a matter of fact, I was only introduced to Father Brown, recently. If you’re like me, and the name rings no bells, let me turn around and introduce you . . .
Father Brown is short, rather stumpy fellow–a priest of the Roman Catholic Church. He’s humble, not the least bit remarkable. He blends quite nicely into the background, which serves him well when it comes to solving mysteries.
Now, if you’re asking how a priest could possibly make a good detective, he would answer, much like he did in The Blue Cross: “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?” With an intimate knowledge of man’s heart and mind, he may be the greatest detective of them all.
Of course, unlike Sherlock Holmes, Father Brown relies on reasoning, rather than scientific inquiry. On more than one occasion, he slips off with the criminal to, presumably, hear his confession, though it’s never explicitly expressed as such.
The stories, in their own right, are delightful; but they’re made all the better with Chesterton’s strong writing style . . . proving even mysteries can be literary. Add to that the short story format, and you’ve got perfect reading for lazy summer days . . .