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G.K. Chesterton

R.T. Campbell’s Bodies in a Bookshop led me to G.K. Chesterton. I am amazed by and grateful for what I have discovered. The Napoleon of Notting Hill, Four Faultless Felons, and The Paradoxes of Mr. Pond are some of the books in the same series as Campbell’s.

Born and raised in London, Chesterton went to St. Paul but never attended college. He’s more than a ghost story writer—a poet, philosopher, dramatist, journalist, orator, literary and art critic, and biographer. Time magazine once observed his writing style: “Whenever possible Chesterton made his points with popular sayings, proverbs, allegories—first carefully turning them inside out.”

Chesterton converted from Anglicism to Catholicism. In two essays George Orwell criticized Chesterton, accusing him of antisemitism. Orwell also held against Chesterton for his lavishing Italy and France with the sort of jingoistic praise he would have been embarrassed to hear about his own country. Orwell supposed that his motive in both cases was his support for the Catholic church.

That said, it’s surprised Father Brown appears in over half of his 100 fictional works. The Roman Catholic priest is at once an eclectic detective. The mysteries are no Sherlock Holmes and Hercule Poirot, for the crimes are flashy.


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