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Extended Audio Sample The Innocence of Father Brown Audiobook, by G. K. Chesterton Click for printable size audiobook cover
3.49 out of 53.49 out of 53.49 out of 53.49 out of 53.49 out of 5 3.49 (51 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: G. K. Chesterton Narrator: Frederick Davidson Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Related: The Father Brown Mysteries Release Date: January 2012 ISBN: 9781455169627
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Detective fans of all races and creeds, of all tastes and fancies will delight in the exploits of this wise and whimsical padre. Father Brown’s powers of detection allow him to sit beside the immortal Holmes, but he is also “in all senses a most pleasantly fascinating human being,” according to American crime novelist Rufus King. You will be enchanted by the scandalously innocent man of the cloth, with his handy umbrella, who exhibits such uncanny insight into ingeniously tricky human problems.

This collection of twelve mysteries solved by Father Brown includes: “The Blue Cross,” “The Secret Garden,” “The Queer Feet,” “The Flying Stars,” “The Invisible Man,” “The Honour of Israel Gow,” “The Wrong Shape,” “The Sins of Prince Saradine,” “The Hammer of God,” “The Eye of Apollo,” “The Sign of the Broken Sword,” and “The Three Tools of Death.”

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Quotes & Awards

  • “G. K. Chesterton’s tales [are] of the unassuming Catholic priest who claims that his work at the confessional (where he has to do ‘next to nothing but hear men’s real sins’) puts him in an excellent position to solve the bizarre crimes that come his way in pre–First World War England…The unassuming cleric, whose humble conviction that his God will eventually triumph over the souls of even the most evil of criminals, is the quiet but insistent heartbeat of these unusual exercises in detective fiction.” 

    Sunday Times (London)

  • “[Father Brown], the little, quiet, grey eyed priest, with his air of guileless simplicity, outrivals the feats of Old Sleuth and Sherlock Holmes, for he is a true expert in criminology.”

    Independent

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kayla | 2/11/2014

    " Lost interest for no apparent reason beyond that I simply couldn't seem to really LIKE Father Brown the way you instinctively like Sherlock Holmes and like Hercule Poirot. Maybe FB needed a sidekick like Watson or Hastings to humanize him or at least tell the reader what to think about him, just to save us the trouble of trying to figure it out! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Cdollowi | 2/6/2014

    " As always Chesterton delivers. The story follows the titular character, a seemingly innocent priest as he solves crimes using only his uncanny understanding of human nature. Not as great as some of his others works (definitely missing his signature sunrises and sunsets) but funny, insightful, and surprising nonetheless. If only all conversations about religion and philosophy could be more like this. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Dave Rench | 1/27/2014

    " A Sherlock Holmes set of mini stories. Okay, but probably wouldn't read again. Tended to get pretty verbose at times. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Katie | 1/22/2014

    " More like 3.5 stars. I liked the collection of shorts and the development of his friendship with Flambeau, but felt like I was kind of reading the same story again and again with a slightly different theme. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sarah | 1/13/2014

    " This was very fun to read! I read it right on the heels of finishing the other volume, The Wisdom of Father Brown, so I probably would have enjoyed it more if I had put a little more time between them. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Boyd Nation | 1/10/2014

    " Don't read them for the mysteries; you'll get too much of the "All Shakespeare did was write down a bunch of famous quotations" effect if you do. Just read them for their place in the history of the mystery story and for Chesterton's wonderful ability to turn a phrase. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Andy Bird | 1/7/2014

    " Just about a 4. I quite liked this. OK it is a collection of short stories and some of them are better than others. It is also a little bit dated. And also, being short stories, they are quite simplistic and don't go into much detail. Having said this i really liked the father Brown character, very low key and subtle. The flamboyant sidekick was also good. I thought the class and aspect themes to a lot of the stories were also good. I would recommend this book although i think some people would find them annoying. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Greg | 12/27/2013

    " Enjoyable, well constructed mysteries in the classic short story form. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Julia | 12/21/2013

    " Very enjoyable reading. Father Brown is an unassuming little priest who can spot the clues in a mystery that everyone else missed; sort of like Monk, but without the major quirkiness. I love the subtle faith aspects that come into play in the priest's thought processes and explanations. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Kristy | 12/2/2013

    " Meh. The stories are almost too short to get any joy out of the plotting, but yet there are still holes. I don't tend to like mysteries that are very "atmospheric" anyway--there's too much mysticism about good and evil and walks in dark forests, etc, for me. Lots of period racism in these as well. The one thing I did like was the way he (invariably, which gets a bit tiresome) gets the culprit to confess. A clever sort of play on him being a Catholic priest. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Moufida | 12/2/2013

    " it's a good one .. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Mysterious Ed | 11/8/2013

    " #1 in the series of Father Brown short story collections. Father Brown is widely acclaimed as being one of the world's first true detectives. This 1911 collection contains 12 stories originally published in U.S. and British magazines in 1910 and 1911. This collection is listed in Barzun and Taylor's Classics of Crime Fiction 1900-1950. I waded through the collection but doubt very much if I shall ever read another word written by G.K. Chesterton. The mysteries are ridiculous, the characters implausible, and the deductive reasoning is impossible. Add to this the fact that Chesterton, if you can credit his written word, is a bigot, religiously intolerant, and a racist. Celebrated author Martin Gardner admires the Father Brown stories but says in the afterword to The Wrong Shape: "In my judgement this is the most unsatisfactory tale in the book. It is not just that the events are wildly implausible - all Father Brown stories are implausible - but that Dr James Harris is totally implausible." Further, about The Hammer of God: "No matter. We are in Chesterton's world of bizarre semi-fantasy where improbable events are as commonplace as improbable characters". Gardner continues about The Wrong Shape with the reason I managed to finish the book - "For me its greatest merit is in the cadences of its descriptions: the wind ' creeping up the dim garden path and shuffling the fallen leaves', and the white lightning that 'opened its enormous eye in one wink' before 'the sky shut up again'. Father Brown series - The 12 stories is the first Brown collection, which introduces not only Father Brown himself but Flambeau, the daring thief. Father Brown worked on Flambeau during their early confrontations, and eventually persuaded him to give up his life of crime. He became Father Brown's friend and sometime sidekick, and appears in three-quarters of the stories herein, in one capacity or another. Father Brown series - The 12 stories is the first Brown collection, which introduces not only Father Brown himself but Flambeau, the daring thief. Father Brown worked on Flambeau during their early confrontations, and eventually persuaded him to give up his life of crime. He became Father Brown's friend and sometime sidekick, and appears in three-quarters of the stories herein, in one capacity or another. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Michael Jones | 11/5/2013

    " my friend O just reminded me that I did read this back in 2006. I'll have to do it again soon. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 London | 10/16/2013

    " The Shelf: Accepted. Favored Author. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kathy Rogers | 10/12/2013

    " I'm glad I invested the time in these. Similar in pace to Agatha Christie, although they lack the "coziness" of the small village. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Leslie | 10/9/2013

    " Uneven quality -- Some of the short stories were too "atmospheric" for my taste while some were excellent. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 arg/machine | 9/27/2013

    " More classic mysteries from G.K. Chesterton. Now in the public domain, a free electronic copy of the book can be found here. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Brian | 8/10/2013

    " I wanted to like this a great deal more than I did. Chesterton is one of those authors one is supposed to like, but after half of this and The Man Who Was Thursday before it, I still have no strong feelings. Still, his reputation is such that I'll give him one more chance. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sarah | 8/10/2013

    " This was very fun to read! I read it right on the heels of finishing the other volume, The Wisdom of Father Brown, so I probably would have enjoyed it more if I had put a little more time between them. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 stormhawk | 8/9/2013

    " I love these little old mystery stories. Father Brown is Sherlock Holmes in a clerical collar, and tempers his reasoning with a keen eye towards human nature and it's twists and turns. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Steve | 8/8/2013

    " This collection introduces Chesterton's famous character. In the initial story Father Brown seems barely a secondary character until the end. Easy to see why he became so popular. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Florence | 7/29/2013

    " Very funny though it is detective short stories. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Joe | 7/22/2013

    " Locked room-type mystery short stories. Father Brown is a self-effacing character. One of the early (1911) mystery classics. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Christie | 6/23/2013

    " This book was ok, but I just could not get excited about it or drawn in. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Katie | 6/1/2013

    " More like 3.5 stars. I liked the collection of shorts and the development of his friendship with Flambeau, but felt like I was kind of reading the same story again and again with a slightly different theme. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Luís | 6/1/2013

    " A great book in it's genre. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Fredrick Danysh | 4/8/2013

    " A collection of short stories featuring the deductive skills of a simple priest in regards to crime. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jeremy | 3/31/2013

    " Not a bad series of stories, especially if you can handle good writing that sometimes lacks compelling plot. G.K. Chesterton is a little more poetic than Conan Doyle ever was, but his plots leave more to be desired. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Stitchywoman | 12/26/2012

    " Light and enjoyable little mysteries. Each chapter is a separate mystery which makes for nice bedtime reading. Father Brown is quite endearing. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Abbi | 12/17/2012

    " The first time I've read Chesterton, and I'm enjoying it. The short mysteries are good ones, and I really like the characters of Father Brown and Flambeau... Each mystery is unique, and I'm looking forward to reading the rest of the Father Brown mysteries. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Dan Evans | 10/2/2012

    " Very well written but structure is dated. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Meghan R. | 8/28/2012

    " The insufferablility of G. K. Chesterton, more like. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Diva | 3/7/2012

    " a little different that what i usually would consider as a collection of detective stories, this one is about the oddness of humans rather than actual detective work. and it is also about forgiving and finding the inner goodness of each soul. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jeff Richards | 3/5/2012

    " Well, I love Chesterton's writing style and I love mysteries so this is a great book for me! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kathy Rogers | 10/30/2011

    " I'm glad I invested the time in these. Similar in pace to Agatha Christie, although they lack the "coziness" of the small village. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Candy Tiley | 8/29/2011

    " While these are written in a different era from what we are used to now, I still find the intelligence of Father Brown fascinating. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mecque | 5/15/2011

    " I enjoyed many of these stories. My favorite was probably "Saradine", because it threw Father Brown in way over his head. Sometimes he's a little too self-assured, so it was nice to see him flail. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Dave | 5/1/2011

    " Enjoyable collection of mysteries stories with a strong Catholic slant. The first story "The Blue Cross" is one of my all time favorite stories. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kyle | 4/14/2011

    " A review will come later "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Diva | 1/27/2011

    " a little different that what i usually would consider as a collection of detective stories, this one is about the oddness of humans rather than actual detective work. and it is also about forgiving and finding the inner goodness of each soul. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Edb | 1/24/2011

    " I expected a mystery book (that's how it was touted) but got a collection of so-so short "mystery" stories. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sus | 1/6/2011

    " "The Hammer of God" had an effect on me that few short stories have ever matched. Well done, Chesterton. And WTF. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Stephanie | 12/6/2010

    " Lots of fun! Father Brown sort of reminds me of a Catholic Matlock; good old fashioned common sense with a dash of "gut feeling". I found there was a definite slant toward the religious, especially when all those lacking in the "proper" faith were killed off, lol! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Bill | 10/29/2010

    " short stories involving the intrepid Father Brown. Not my favourite, but still interesting. "

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About the Author

Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874–1936) published numerous works which include compilations of his voluminous journalism, novels, biographies, histories, criticism, Christian apologetics, poetry, and plays. Many of his novels have the genuine marks of genius. His books on Dickens (for whom he had a considerable affinity) and Saint Thomas Aquinas are considered classics in their fields.

About the Narrator

Frederick Davidson (1932–2005), also known as David Case, was one of the most prolific readers in the audiobook industry, recording more than eight hundred audiobooks in his lifetime, including over two hundred for Blackstone Audio. Born in London, he trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and performed for many years in radio plays for the British Broadcasting Company before coming to America in 1976. He received AudioFile’s Golden Voice Award and numerous Earphones Awards and was nominated for a Grammy for his readings.