A daily note on some event in the history of mystery fiction.
Monday, May 29, 2017
5/29/1874 Father Brown's father is born
May 29, 1874. G.K. Chesterton was born on this date in London. He was a playwright, poet, journalist, theologian, blah blah blah... He's on this page because he created one of the immortal sleuths of mystery fiction: Father Brown (no first name, although once we are told his first initial was J and in another he is casually referred to (by the narrator) as Paul). The character was inspired by a Catholic priest named John O'Connor who astonished the author with his knowledge of the seedy side of human nature. Father Brown never appeared in a novel but he did wonderful work in 53 short stories, beginning with "The Blue Cross," which is still rated a classic.
Chesterton also wrote The Man Who Was Thursday, a sort of spy novel cum religious allegory which is a bizarre and fascinating read. “I am a journalist and have no earthly motives except curiosity and personal vanity.”