If you’ve followed at all, you know my love for PBS and the Father Brown mysteries, where Mark Williams (Arthur Weasley for Potter Fans) plays the Catholic Priest in the village, Narrated by Graham Gordon, this collection of twelve stories in this first volume compile murder mysteries, thefts, and stories that highlight no crime at all. Please read on for my review of
The Innocence of Father Brown
One of the early, non-professional investigators of crime, Father Brown, as imagined by G.K. Chesterton carry much of a similar tone as the more famous Holmes mysteries of Arthur Conan Doyle. In fact, the two were acquainted, and you can see some similarities in pacing and intelligence.
Chesterton is viewed by some as a Christian apologist: and to be honest the early stories here do often dance on the edges with this collection, an almost concerted effort to prove Catholicism is not remotely tied to superstition, myth or fantastical beliefs. If you can move past the preachiness of the good Father and appreciate his almost naïve belief in people and his use of intuition and a lifetime spent hearing confessions, you can enjoy the unique twists demonstrated during his investigations.
Seven of these stories are pure murder mystery that highlight some rather complex circumstances, often mired in the prejudices and restrictions that came with the British class system. The Secret Garden is a wonderful example of the twists and turns, and the Father’s rather unique path to the solution. A further two stories don’t have any real culprit, another few are thefts or attempted thefts. With a thorough grounding in place and time, which can mean some racially insensitive comments, the dismissive comments from the upper classes in regards to those who work for them. A wonderful collection when taken as is, just for enjoyment and a quiet escape from the everyday.
Narration for this collection is provided by Gordon Griffin, my first introduction to his work, and the narration and performance was wonderful. Clear, precise enunciation that highlights the text and story flow help the stories move smoothly forward. His skill with presentation, awareness of audience and ease of delivery made this a wonderful listen, sure to please listeners who want to delve into mysteries from the early development of the genre.
Stars: Overall 4 Narration 5 Story 4
Title: The Innocence of Father Brown
Series: Father Brown #1
Genre: Anthology- Mystery, British, Edwardian, Mystery Elements
Narrator: Gordon Griffin
Published on: 19 April, 2016
Source: AudioBook Jukebox
Audio Length: 8 Hours: 59 minutes
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First published in 1911, The Innocence of Father Brown contains stories involving one of the greatest characters in the history of detective fiction, Father Brown. He is a Roman Catholic priest, has an uncanny insight to human evil. Rather than the large serial villains in stories such as Sherlock Holmes, the mysteries Father Brown solved were more local murders by small town crooks, narrowing the suspect list down to those in the area of the crime. The cozy mystery style that The Innocence of Father Brown conveys sparked a revolution at the time, bringing it to the forefront of the detective fiction genre.
A copy of this title was provided via AudioBook Jukebox for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.