"He thought his detective brain as good as the criminal's, which was true. But he fully realized the disadvantage. 'The criminal is the creative artist; the detective only the critic,' he said with a sour smile, and lifted his coffee cup to his lips slowly, and put it down very quickly. He had put salt in it." G. K. Chesterton, The Innocence of Father Brown, The Blue Cross. In 1911, G. K. Chesterton published this first collection of twelve short stories featuring Father Brown, a priest-turned-detective who combines philosophical and spiritual reasoning with scientific observation to solve crimes. In doing so, Chesterton laid the foundation for future fictional detectives, such as Hercule Poirot, Miss Marple, Ellery Queen, and Nero Wolfe. Unlike other writers of his time, who concocted outlandish crimes and intricate puzzles for the protagonist to solve, Chesterton pioneered the cozy mystery, narrowing the scope of the investigation to limited time, limited space, and a limited number of suspects, with all the clues revealed to the reader as well as to the detective. Chesterton is highly regarded as a biting social commentator, and his humorous and insightful comparisons leave readers reeling. These tales are short, easy reads with strong plots, all connected by the clever detective with an above-average understanding of human nature.
Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936) was an English writer, philosopher, satirist, and social critic. During his lifetime, the prolific Chesterton wrote eighty books, several hundred poems, some two hundred short stories, four thousand essays, and several plays. He was also known as a strong debater and Christian apologist. He often took on what he considered to be the flawed philosophy of modernism found in the writings of his good friends Oscar Wilde and George Bernard Shaw. It was Shaw who once referred to Chesterton in Time magazine as "a man of colossal genius." Chesterton's writings consistently displayed wit and a sense of humor. His ingenious use of paradox in his commentaries on the leading political, economic, philosophical, and theological beliefs of his day makes his writings as relevant today as they were a century ago.