G. K. Chesterton


Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874 – 1936) was an influential English writer of the early 20th century. His prolific and diverse output included journalism, philosophy, poetry, biography, Christian apologetics, fantasy, and detective fiction.

His best-known character is the priest-detective Father Brown, who appeared only in short stories, while The Man Who Was Thursday is arguably his best-known novel.

Much of Chesterton's work remains in print, including collections of the Father Brown detective stories.


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From LibriVox: 

1. The Man Who Was Thursday - Lucian Gregory, an anarchist poet  finds Syme and leads him to a local anarchist meeting-place to prove that he is a true anarchist. Instead of the anarchist Gregory getting elected, the officer Syme uses his wits and is elected as the local representative to the worldwide Central Council of Anarchists. The Council consisting of seven men, each using the name of a day of the week as a code name; Syme is given the name of Thursday…

2. The Man Who Knew Too Much - ‘The Man Who Knew Too Much’ has some similarities to the Father Brown stories: Horne Fisher the eponymous hero is connected and indeed related to many of the high-ranking politicians of his age and thus ‘knows too much’ about the background of the mysteries in which he becomes embroiled and which he unravels. 

3. The Innocence of Father Brown - The Innocence of Father Brown (1911) is the first of five collections of mystery stories by G. K. Chesterton starring an unimposing but surprisingly capable Roman Catholic priest. Father Brown’s ability to uncover the truth behind the mystery continually surpasses that of the “experts” around him, who are fooled into underestimation by the priest’s unimpressive outward appearance and, often, by their own prejudices about Christianity. 

4. The Wisdom of Father Brown - This is the second of five books of short stories about G. K. Chesterton’s fictional detective, first published in 1914. Father Brown is a short, nondescript Catholic Priest with shapeless clothes and a large umbrella who has an uncanny insight into human evil. 

5. The Ball and the Cross - The Ball and the Cross is G. K. Chesterton's third novel. In the introduction Martin Gardner notes that it is a "mixture of fantasy, farce and theology." Gardner continues: "Evan MacIan is a tall, dark-haired, blue-eyed Scottish Highlander and a devout Roman Catholic.... James Turnbull is a short, red-haired, gray-eyed Scottish Lowlander and a devout but naive atheist.... The two meet when MacIan smashes the window of the street office where Turnbull publishes an atheist journal.

6. Trees of Pride - Three trees, known as the Peacock trees, are blamed by the peasants for the fever that has killed many. Squire Vane scoffs at this legend as superstition. To prove them wrong, once and for all, he takes a bet to spend the night in the trees. In the morning he has vanished. Is he dead, and if so who has killed him? The poet? The lawyer? The woodsman? The trees?

7. The Flying Inn - The Flying Inn is a novel first published in 1914.  It is set in a future England where a bizarre form of "Progressive" Islam has triumphed and largely dominates the political and social life of the country.

8. Poems - Originally published in 1916, this book of poetry by G.K. Chesterton includes 59 poems on a variety of subjects. Included in this are war poems, love poems, religious poems, ballads and more.

9. The Eye of Apollo  (6th story in Short Mystery Story Collection Vol 002)

10. Chesterton Calendar - Go through the year, day by day, with the wit and wisdom of G.K. Chesterton! Compiled from the writings of 'G.K.C', both in verse and in prose, each day of the year is provided with a generally short quotation from one of his many works.

11. The Ballad of St. Barbara and Other Verses - A Collection of 35 Poems published in 1922.

12. Wit and Wisdom of G. K. Chesterton - In this collection, Bevis Hillier has put together some of Chesterton's essays in "The Defendant", "Varied Types" and "Tremendous Trifles". These 12 pieces were chosen to giving a peek into the margins of Chesterton's work and give a sense of the distinctive flavor of his mind.

13. A Defence of Rash Vows by G. K. Chesterton (3rd story in Short Non-fiction #28)

14. The Ballad of the White Horse (Version 2) - The Ballad of the White Horse is a poem by G K Chesterton about the idealized exploits of the Saxon King Alfred the Great, published in 1911. Written in ballad form, the work is usually considered an epic poem.
    15. Magic: A Fantastic Comedy - George Bernard Shaw goaded the already successful essayist and novelist Chesterton into trying his hand at a play, with this 1913 result. The play (in 3 Acts) examines the powers and mysteries of faith, belief, religion, and of course, magic - a mixture that should be familiar from many of his Father Brown stories. The play's success convinced him to write a couple of other later plays.  One Reviewer wrote: “What do you get when a self-assured doctor, an uneasy clergyman, a doddering duke, a progressive youth, a businesslike secretary, and an impressionable maiden are confronted with a conjurer in the parlor? In the case of Magic , what you get is commentary on skepticism and belief “ and some distinctively British humor. Your host is G.K. Chesterton in his first attempt at playwriting, an activity he took up under the near-coercive persuasion of George Bernard Shaw and only repeated a few times afterwards, despite Magic ’s original success at its debut in 1913. The play, a modest drawing room production, is termed a “fantastic comedy” (and is, of course, peppered with characteristic wit and memorable one-liners), yet handles important material.”

      16.  The Sign of the Broken Sword - In the freezing English countryside, Father Brown leads Flambeau to the many monuments and shrines of the great General St. Claire. "Sacred to the Memory of General Sir Arthur St. Clare, Hero and Martyr, who Always Vanquished his Enemies and Always Spared Them, and Was Treacherously Slain by Them At Last. May God in Whom he Trusted both Reward and Revenge him." is the inscription that they read on each of them. Flambeau knows nothing of him but listens to the story of this man as Father Brown tells it. Was St. Claire truly a hero and martyr? What is the mystery behind his last foolish and hopeless charge against an overwhelming enemy? This detective story delves into human psychology for many of the clues to unravel the tangled threads. A fascinating story and said to be one of Chesterton's best Father Brown stories.

      From AudioBooksForFree.com:

      1. 14 Father Brown Short Stories
      2. 9  Mr. Pond (a retired secret service agent) Short Stories

      From Archive - Audio:

      1. The Nightmare