Volume two of this Chesterton collection—enter Father Brown
Gilbert Keith Chesterton was one of the most influential English writers of the twentieth century. He put his mind and pen to a broad spectrum of subjects including theology, poetry, biography, journalism and philosophy. Great writers have no influence over those parts of their work which posterity decides is most significant or will be best remembered, in Chesterton's case—in the minds of many—he will forever be remembered as the creator of the little Roman Catholic priest-detective, Father Brown. The vitality of that character has endured, evergreen, never losing its charm. Chesterton, was a lover of detective and mystery fiction and his own contribution to the genre extends far beyond the Father Brown stories. Leonaur has collected Chesterton's fabulous, intriguing and entertaining mysteries—in order of original book publication—into six substantial volumes to enable his many aficionados to own and read them in either softcover or hardback with dust jacket for collectors. This collection is the ideal way to possess these essential books of crime, mystery and detection and no enthusiast's library will be complete without them.
br>Volume two contains two collections of the famous Father Brown stories—'The Innocence of Father Brown' and 'The Wisdom of Father Brown'—24 absolutely essential stories of the Roman Catholic priest with an almost supernatural insight into human evil.
His hoarse shouts brought a pale face to the study door, the beaming glasses and worried brow of Dr. Simon, who heard the nobleman’s first clear words. Lord Galloway was crying: “A corpse in the grass—a blood-stained corpse.” O’Brien at last had gone utterly out of his mind. <br>
“We must tell Valentin at once,” said the doctor, when the other had brokenly described all that he had dared to examine. “It is fortunate that he is here”; and even as he spoke the great detective entered the study, attracted by the cry. It was almost amusing to note his typical transformation; he had come with the common concern of a host and a gentleman, fearing that some guest or servant was ill. When he was told the gory fact, he turned with all his gravity instantly bright and businesslike; for this, however abrupt and awful, was his business.<br>
“Strange, gentlemen,” he said as they hurried out into the garden, “that I should have hunted mysteries all over the earth, and now one comes and settles in my own back-yard. But where is the place?” They crossed the lawn less easily, as a slight mist had begun to rise from the river; but under the guidance of the shaken Galloway they found the body sunken in deep grass—the body of a very tall and broad-shouldered man. He lay face downwards, so they could only see that his big shoulders were clad in black cloth, and that his big head was bald, except for a wisp or two of brown hair that clung to his skull like wet seaweed. A scarlet serpent of blood crawled from under his fallen face.<br>
“At least,” said Simon, with a deep and singular intonation, “he is none of our party.”<br>
“Examine him, doctor,” cried Valentin rather sharply. “He may not be dead.”<br>
The doctor bent down. “He is not quite cold, but I am afraid he is dead enough,” he answered. “Just help me to lift him up.”
They lifted him carefully an inch from the ground, and all doubts as to his being really dead were settled at once and frightfully. The head fell away. It had been entirely sundered from the body; whoever had cut his throat had managed to sever the neck as well. Even Valentin was slightly shocked. “He must have been as strong as a gorilla,” he muttered.<br>
Not without a shiver, though he was used to anatomical abortions, Dr. Simon lifted the head. It was slightly slashed about the neck and jaw, but the face was substantially unhurt. It was a ponderous, yellow face, at once sunken and swollen, with a hawk-like nose and heavy lids—a face of a wicked Roman emperor, with, perhaps, a distant touch of a Chinese emperor. All present seemed to look at it with the coldest eye of ignorance. Nothing else could be noted about the man except that, as they had lifted his body, they had seen underneath it the white gleam of a shirt-front defaced with a red gleam of blood. As Dr. Simon said, the man had never been of their party. But he might very well have been trying to join it, for he had come dressed for such an occasion.<br>
Valentin went down on his hands and knees and examined with his closest professional attention the grass and ground for some twenty yards round the body, in which he was assisted less skilfully by the doctor, and quite vaguely by the English lord. Nothing rewarded their grovellings except a few twigs, snapped or chopped into very small lengths, which Valentin lifted for an instant’s examination and then tossed away.<br>
“Twigs,” he said gravely; “twigs, and a total stranger with his head cut off; that is all there is on this lawn.”
There was an almost creepy stillness, and then the unnerved Galloway called out sharply:
“Who’s that! Who’s that over there by the garden wall!”