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G. K. Chesterton Locked Room Titles


ChestertonGilbert Keith Chesterton, KC*SG (1874 – 1936) better known as G. K. Chesterton, was an English writer, lay theologian, poet, philosopher, dramatist, journalist, orator, literary and art critic, biographer, and Christian apologist. Chesterton is often referred to as the “prince of paradox.” Time magazine, in a review of a biography of Chesterton, observed of his writing style: “Whenever possible Chesterton made his points with popular sayings, proverbs, allegories – first carefully turning them inside out.” More on Chesterton at Wikipedia

(Source Wikipedia: G. K Chesterton)

Our primary interest with Chesterton is as the author of the Father Brown mysteries, which include quite a list of Locked Room stories, though a few other locked room short stories are also listed at the bottom of this page. As the Father Brown stories are all well organized and collected, we will begin by offering several collections that contain all of Chesterton’s Father Brown titles and other works, without once again suggesting purchases for each individual Father Brown story.

More on G. K. Chesterton

More on Father Brown


G. K. Chesterton Collections


Complete BrownThe Complete Father Brown Stories
G. K. Chesterton
Detective: Father Brown

Available in paperback and ebook editions.

Book  eBook  Amazon.ca

Note: A well organized collection

Both the paperback and the eBook are a great deal! All 51 stories!

 


Chesterton WorksThe Collected Works Of G. K. Chesterton
G. K. Chesterton
Detective: Father Brown & Others

Available only in ebook.

eBook   Amazon.ca

Note: All the important works in the Chesterton Library – including all his locked room stories!

Includes: All the Father Brown Stories, ‘The Man Who Knew Too Much’, ‘The Poet and The Lunatics’, the two uncollected Father Brown Stores, ‘The Donnington Affair’ (1914) and ‘The Mask of Midas’ (1936)  (‘The Vampire of the Village’ (Strand Magazine, August 1936), is now usually included in most editions of ‘The Scandal of Father Brown’) plus all 8 Novels, 6 Short Story Collections, and much, much more for less than $2!


InnocenceThe Innocence of Father Brown (1911)
G. K. Chesterton
Detective: Father Brown Stories

Available in paperback, ebook, and audible editions.

Book  eBook  Audible  Amazon.ca  Gutenberg  LibriVox

Note: The best deals for ‘The Innocence of Father Brown’

Includes:

The Blue Cross
The Secret Garden
The Queer Feet
The Flying Stars
The Invisible Man
The Honor 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
The Three Tools of Death


Wisdom BrownThe Wisdom of Father Brother (1914)
G. K. Chesterton
Detective: Father Brown

Available in paperback, ebook, and audible editions.

Book  eBook  Audible  Amazon.ca  Gutenberg  LibriVox

Note: The best deals on’The Wisdom of Father Brown’

Includes:

The Absence of Mr Glass
The Paradise of Thieves
The Duel of Dr Hirsch
The Man in the Passage
The Mistake of the Machine
The Head of Caesar
The Purple Wig
The Perishing of the Pendragons
The God of the Gongs
The Salad of Colonel Cray
The Strange Crime of John Boulnois
The Fairy Tale of Father Brown


Incredulity BrownThe Incredulity of Father Brown (1926)
G. K. Chesterton
Detective: Father Brown

Available in paperback, ebook, and audible editions.

Book  eBook  Amazon.ca

Note: The best deals on ‘The Incredulity of Father Brown’

Includes:

The Resurrection of Father Brown
The Arrow of Heaven
The Oracle of the Dog
The Miracle of Moon Crescent
The Curse of the Golden Cross
The Dagger with Wings
The Doom of the Darnaways
The Ghost of Gideon Wise

Note: Ensure the volume contains ‘The Dagger with Wings’ – a locked room story that is not included in all editions or any of the other collection.


Secret BrownThe Secret of Father Brown (1927)
G. K. Chesterton
Detective: Father Brown

Available in paperback, ebook, and audible editions.

Book  eBook  Audible  Amazon.ca

Note: The best deals on ‘The Secret of Father Brown’

Includes:

The Secret Of Father Brown
The Mirror Of The Magistrate
The Man With Two Beards
The Song Of The Flying Fish
The Actor And The Alibi
The Vanishing Of Vaudrey
The Worst Crime In The World
The Red Moon Of Meru
The Chief Mourner Of Marne
The Secret Of Flambeau


Scandal BrownThe Scandal of Father Brown (1927)
G. K. Chesterton
Detective: Father Brown

Available in paperback, ebook, and audible editions.

Book  eBook  Audible  Amazon.ca

Note: The best deals on ‘The Scandal of Father Brown’

Includes:

The Scandal of Father Brown
The Quick One
The Blast of the Book
The Green Man
The Pursuit of Mr. Blue
The Crime of the Communist
The Point of a Pin
The Insoluble Problem
The Vampire of the Village


Brown DVDThe Father Brown Mysteries
G. K. Chesterton
Detective: Father Brown

Available in paperback, ebook, and audible editions.

Complete DVD Collection  Amazon.ca

Note: A fantastic series!

Includes:

The Blue Cross
The Mayor and the Magician
The Face of Death
The Devil’s Dust
The Bride of Christ
The Eye of Apollo
The Man in the Tree
The Wrong Shape
The Flying Stars
The Hammer of God

The Laws of Motion
The Grim Reaper
The Prize of Colonel Gerard
The Three Tools of Death
The Daughters of Jerusalem
The Mysteries of the Rosary
The Shadow of the Scaffold
The Pride of the Prydes
Maddest of All
The Ghost in the Machine

The Owl of Minerva
The Deadly Seal
The Paradise of Thieves
The Standing Stones
The Time Machine
The Judgement of Man
The Truth in the Wine
The Lair of the Libertines
The Kembleford Boggart
The Upcott Fraternity
The Last Man
The Sign of the Broken Sword
The Invisible Man
The Curse of Amenhotep
The Man in the Shadows


Father Brown Locked Room Short Stories


InnocenceThe Secret Garden (1910)
Collection: The Innocence of Father Brown

 

 

Best Review
****

Note: How did the body end up in the garden?

How did the murderer get in and out of the impenetrable garden? The body discovered in the garden is that of a stranger. Nobody knows how it got into the walled garden because a stranger never entered the house and the garden has no outside gate. Father Brown is able to show how it all happened. 


InnocenceThe Hammer of God (1911)
Collection: The Innocence of Father Brown

 

 

Best Review
*****

Note: Strength isn’t everything!

Colonel Norman Bohan is bludgeoned to death. The only person strong enough to have committed that kind of murder is the local blacksmith, and he had plenty of motive. But Father Brown notices something is amiss about the size of the hammer that was used and that small detail leads to a very different explanation.


InnocenceThe Wrong Shape (1911)
Collection: The Innocence of Father Brown

 

 

Best Review
*****

Note: A murder with a moral

Father Brown investigates a true locked room killing in an odd Oriental style household, which includes a mystic. The method used to kill the man, in this apparent suicide, is really quite clever. The moral is that atheism, in the form of foreign religions, leads a man to murder! A very good locked room read, but avoid it if you get easily upset by politically incorrect period stories. 


InnocenceThe Invisible Man (1911)
Collection: The Innocence of Father Brown

 

 

Best Review
*****

Note: One of the all time best locked room mysteries!

Another impossible crime, with one of the best solutions in the genre. Father Brown and Flambeau join forces to investigate a mysterious problem.  A man entered a building completely unseen, yet leaving behind a trail of footprints. He then committed a murder and left carrying the corpse in his arms!


InnocenceThe Three Tools of Death (1911)
Collection: The Innocence of Father Brown

 

 

Best Review
****

Note: Nobody loves a clown?

Why was the philanthropist Sir Aaron Armstrong murdered? How could anyone murder such a wonderful man? Chesterton digs into some dark psychological corners of the mind. Armstrong had once been troubled with thoughts of suicide, and feared the world might just be a figment of his imagination. He was saved by his sense of humour and overcame his fears, becoming a laughing giant. Father Brown notes: ‘People like frequent laughter, but I don’t think they like a permanent smile.’ It was an important observation.


Wisdom BrownThe Absence of Mr. Glass (1913)
Collection: The Wisdom of Father Brown

 

 

Best Review
****

Note: Two voices and a strange apparition!

Father Brown approaches a famous criminologist, Dr Orion Hood, who becomes the central butt of this humorous episode. Father Brown is interested in the peculiar case of Mr Todhunter – recently engaged o his landlady’s daughter – but often heard locked inside his room alone – while two voices can be heard in conversation. There is talk in the village that a man wearing a silk hat rises from the sea to meet Mr Todhunter, then disappears back into the waves. A great story with aa amusing solution.


Wisdom BrownThe Man in The Passage (1913)
Collection: The Wisdom of Father Brown

 

 

Best Review
****

Note: The problem with eyewitness testimony!

Dorothy Sayers claimed this was the best Father Brown story. The famous actress, Aurora Rome, has been stabbed back stage, at the end of the passage, while several admirers are dancing in attendance “The wound was just over the heart, and she had died instantly.” Isidore Bruno is charged with the murder – and the evidence seems clear enough at first – but Father Brown is not so sure they got the right man! The solution finally arrives in a dramatic court confession. The misdirection is first class and despite the presence of Patrick Butler (of Carr infamy), it is one of the best Father Brown episodes.


Wisdom BrownThe Salad of Colonel Grey (1914)
Collection: The Wisdom of Father Brown

 

 

Best Review
***

Note: Don’t look at the Monkey’s Tail!

Another jab at Indian mysticism – used to disguise a vicious murder. Not for the politically correct!  The untraceable, undetectable poison unknown to science is also a clear breach of the rules! I fully agree with Gadetection that the best line in the whole story is: “If you had only seen the Monkey’s Feet,’ he said, smiling steadily, and without other preface, `we should have been very gentle — you would only be tortured and die. If you had seen the Monkey’s Face, still we should be very moderate, very tolerant — you would only be tortured and live. But as you have seen the Monkey’s Tail, we must pronounce the worst sentence. which is–Go Free.” Not one of Chesterton’s best efforts.


Incredulity BrownThe Oracle of The Dog (1923)
Collection: The Incredulity of Father Brown

 

 

Best Review
*****

Note: The dog who was just a dog!

The most famous Father Brown locked room story. Colonel Druce was stabbed to death inside a watched summerhouse. It looks like suicide, but the dagger cannot be found. Oddly,  the dog stopped to howl while fetching sticks, then barked furiously at the victim’s  lawyer. Did the dog foretell the murder and the murderer? Father Brown, in this case, is an armchair detective, who does not believe in oracles. He provides a remarkable solution, holding that  “the dog had everything to do with it, as you’d have found out if you’d only treated the dog as a dog, and not as God Almighty judging the souls of men”. He finally presents a superb analysis of all the psychological and physical clues, that neatly solves one of Chesterton’s locked room masterpieces, though not all the critics agree on this one!


Incredulity BrownThe Dagger With Wings (1924)
Collection: The Incredulity of Father Brown

 

 

Best Review
*****

Note: Chesterton at his undisputed best!

There is in no doubt concerning the critical opinion of this story – it is quite simply one of Chesterton’s best! The priest is asked to visit Arnold Aylmer, the last of three brothers, two of whom have already been murdered by their father’s adopted son, John Strake. Aylmer believes that Strake is not just a murderer, but also a vampire, which means that Father Brown’s first task is to decide if Strake has gone mad! The story is essentially an extended conversation between Father Brown and Aylmer, but the chilling atmosphere is quite superb!  A simple story with an incredible solution, that emphasized Chesterton’s talent as a master illusionist!


Incredulity BrownThe Miracle of Moon Crescent (1924)
Collection: The Incredulity of Father Brown

 

 

Best Review
*****

Note: An American Father Brown story!

A Father Brown mystery set in America! Philanthropist Warren Wynd simply vanishes from a 14th floor guarded and inaccessible room, only to be later found – hanging from a tree! A rather bizarre story that feels rather surrealistic. The motive may seem rather odd for modern readers, but it concludes with another superb Chesterton solution.


Incredulity BrownThe Curse of The Golden Cross (1925)
Collection: The Incredulity of Father Brown

 

 

Best Review
***

Note: A cursed cross?

A powerful man with a streak of evil is determined to possess a cross inscribed with a symbol of the early church. When a second cross is discovered in Sussex, he warns the archeologists not to disturb the relic, or they will bring down an ancient curse. The result is murder, and Father Brown must provide an alternative solution. Good story for fans of archaeological mystery fiction, but not one of Chesterton’s best! Similar  to “The Dagger with Wings”, but not as good!


Incredulity BrownThe Doom of The Darnaways (1925)
Collection: The Incredulity of Father Brown

 

 

Best Review
****

Note: A gothic Victorian melodrama

The Darnaways are haunted by their own superstitious fear – living under a curse in an old house that is slowly sinking into a swamp. They believe that the new heir, returning from Australia, is doomed to murder his loved one, then commit suicide, and nothing can be done to stop this fate! Father Brown vigorously defends logic and free will, but Darnaway still dies, an apparent suicide as the curse predicted – until Father Brown breaks the ancient legend in a surprise ending.  


Incredulity BrownThe Arrow of Heaven (1925)
Collection: The Incredulity of Father Brown

 

 

Best Review
****

Note: An Impossible Arrow nearly defeats Father Brown

Another American Father Brown story! Millionaire Brandon Merton, owner of the cursed Coptic Cup, is found dead inside a locked room, shot with an arrow that could not have entered from outside. The Coptic Cup has already caused several deaths, but Father Brown is initially perplexed! He must try on several false solutions, before finally suggesting a fantastic solution that turns the “The Wrong Shape” case inside out! 


Secret BrownThe Song of The Flying Fish (1925)
Collection: The Secret of Father Brown

 

 

Best Review
****

Note: Have you seen my goldfish?

A locked-room theft. A rich man’s favourite possession, and the source of his favourite joke, is stolen under impossible conditions. “From the other end of the room it looked like a rather unusually large bowl containing rather unusually large living fish; a closer inspection showed it to be a huge bubble of beautifully blown Venetian glass, very thin and delicately clouded with faintly iridescent colour, in the tinted twilight of which hung grotesque golden fishes with great rubies for eyes.” Now someone has smashed the bowl and made the goldfish disappear! Another jab at Eastern mysticism, and still an amusing read, but far from Chesterton’s best!


Secret BrownThe Actor and The Alibi (1926)
Collection: The Secret of Father Brown

 

 

Best Review
****

Note: The Perfect Alibi?

A theatre manager is stabbed inside  his locked ofice while all the suspects are on stage together. A very clever alibi must be broken before Father Brown finally reveals the solution – and a unique villain!


Incredulity BrownThe Ghost of Gideon Wise (1926)
Collection: The Incredulity of Father Brown

 

 

Best Review
****

Note: Did three Bolshevists kill a trio of Capitalists?

Father Brown is still in America, and comes to the rescue of three Bolshevists, one an imminent convert, who have all been charged with murdering three capitalist millionaires! This set-up gives Chesterton a soap box to denounce both Bolshevism and Capitalism. The solution is fairly clever, but not one of Chesterton’s best tales – though often over-rated!


Secret BrownThe Vanishing of Vaudrey (1927)
Collection: The Secret of Father Brown

 

 

Best Review
*****

Note: “The most horrible thing I ever saw in my life…”

One of Chesterton’s best stories! Sir Arthur Vaudrey vanishes while out for a stroll and his body is later found by Father Brown, with his throat cut, lying on the bank of the river. “Sir Arthur Vaudrey was glaring and grinning up at him; the face was turned up so that he could have put his foot on it; the head was thrown back, with its wig of whitish yellow hair towards him, so that he saw the face upside down. This made it seem all the more like a part of a nightmare; as if a man were walking about with his head stuck on the wrong way. What was he doing? Was it possible that Vaudrey was really creeping about, hiding in the cracks of field and bank, and peering out at them in this unnatural posture?… Was he Mad?”

Father Brown must consider the role played by the tobacconist, before solving this truly dark case of revenge!


Secret BrownThe Red Moon of Meru (1927)
Collection: The Secret of Father Brown

 

 

Best Review
****

Note: A famous jewel disappears at a village fete!

Not unlike ‘The Song of The Flying Fish’ another frivolous impossible jewel theft, this time at a village fete, with the chief suspect an Indian mystic. Provides yet another chance for Chesterton to take a jab at Indian mysticism! Chesterton’s war against the eastern faiths eventually starts to become more boring than politically incorrect!


Scandal BrownThe Blast of The Book (1933)
AKA: The Five Fugitives
Collection: The Scandal of Father Brown

 

 

Best Review
****

Note: The Flying Terror captures more than the reader’s imagination!

This time Chesterton takes on Spiritualism. (No surprise!)  The central figure is a scientist, Professor Openshaw, who is neither for nor against the belief in ghosts. Reverend Luke Pringle brings the Professor a book from West Africa and tells the tale of Captain Wales who looked into  the book and was never seen again. The book is to be delivered to Doctor Hankey, an expert on such matters, who lives on the outskirts of the London, but the Professor’s clerk Berridge sneaks a  look at the book and immediately disappears. The Reverend is next, disappearing in the middle of a phone call! The Professor and Brown go to meet Doctor Hankey, only to find the terrible book resting on the table, bearing the following inscription: “They that looked into this book – Them the Flying Terror took.” The professor is convinced the book is cursed, but Father Brown is not so easily fooled.


Scandal BrownThe Pursuit of Mr. Blue (1934)
Collection: The Scandal of Father Brown

 

 

Best Review
***

Note: A locked in witness!

A detective named Muggleton consults Father Brown, after a very strange experience! It began when the detective received a letter from a millionaire, complaining of threats by his cousin. The detective agreed to meet his client in a pavilion on the end of a long guard pier – only to find himself locked into this room, and forced to witness a nasty fight that leads to the death of his client! Once he is released, it is soon ascertained that no one else entered the pier, and that it was quite impossible to gain access from the sea! The trick of how the murderer escaped the pier is not original, and just doesn’t quite make the grade.


G. K. Chesterton: Other Locked Room Short Stories


Knew Too MuchThe Tower of Treason (1920)
Collection: The Man Who Knew Too Much
Detective: Horne Fisher

 

Best Review
****

Available in paperback, ebook, and audible editions.

Book  eBook  Audible  Amazon.ca  Librivox

Note: The death of a hermit!

An ageing red-haired hermit, Father Stephen, is murdered by a most peculiar bullet during his investigation of a diamond theft from a locked and guarded roof garden. Similar to “The Fairy Tale of Father Brown”, a fantasy about Ruritanian politics.


Knew Too MuchThe Hole in The Wall (1921)
Collection: The Man Who Knew Too Much
Detective: Horne Fisher

 

Best Review
*****

Available in paperback, ebook, and audible editions.

Book  eBook  Audible  Amazon.ca  Librivox

Note: A cold and shallow grave?

 Lord Bulmer vanishes from a fancy dress Christmas  party. He was last seen skating on a pond that is no more than two feet deep. Chesterton paints such a rich picture of this scene that many critics claim this is the best Chesterton mystery story!


Knew Too MuchThe Soul of The Schoolboy (1921)
Collection: The Man Who Knew Too Much
Detective: Horne Fisher

 

Best Review
****

Available in paperback, ebook, and audible editions.

Book  eBook  Audible  Amazon.ca  Librivox

Note: Another impossible jewel theft!

Involves the theft of a precious silver coin with religious signifigance, during a brief moment when the lights go out. Also includes the usual tired Chestertonian critique of mysticism and eastern religions.  Often viewed as a first draft of ‘The Red Moon of Meru’.


Knew Too MuchThe Vanishing Prince (1922)
Collection: The Man Who Knew Too Much
Detective: Horne Fisher

 

Best Review
****

Available in paperback, ebook, and audible editions.

Book  eBook  Audible  Amazon.ca  Librivox

Note: Irish revolutionary disappears from a guarded tower

The Vanishing Prince is an Irish revolutionary who disappears from a guarded tower after killing two policemen. The solution is a bit obvious, but still a great locked room tale!


Poet LunaticThe Shadow of The Shark (1921)
Collection: The Poet and The Lunatics
Detective: Gabriel Gale

 

Best Review
****

Available in paperback and ebook editions.

Book  eBook  Read online  Amazon.ca

Note: Murder in the middle of an unmarked beach!

The body of the eccentric painter, Sir Owen Cram, is found on a deserted beach with his easel. It is clear that the wound could not have been self-inflicted, and there  is no murder weapon anywhere to be found. But the real mystery lies is in the sand –  only one set of footprints lead up to the body, and those belong to  Sir Owen. The scientists and police are baffled, but the young poet Gabriel Gale looks at the evidence in a new light, and considers a red starfish found next to the body.  Ironically, the lunatic in this case is someone who fervently denies that there are any mysteries. One of Chesterton’s better tales. More novella than short story.


Download the two uncollected Father Brown stories for free!
The Donnington Affair
The Mask of Midas


G. K. Chesterton Bibliography


Locked Room 101: The Masters


The Locked Room Mystery home



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