London: Cassell, 1911. First Edition. Hardcover. First Printing of the first Father Brown book, a "cornerstone volume" (Pronzini & Muller ) and "one of the finest volumes of detective short stories ever written" (Queen), one of 5,000 copies. Crown 8vo (189 x 123mm): ,336pp, with frontispiece and seven further plates tipped in. Publisher's red cloth, spine and upper cover lettered in gilt, older quarter-leather slipcase with chemise (faded at spine panel and edges). An excellent example, pages and plates clean and fresh (but fly-leaf offset), tightly bound with bright gilt. Sullivan A24. Queen (Detective Short Story), p. 21. Barzun and Taylor (Catalogue of Crime) 3677. Hubin I, p. 289. Queen's Quorum 47. Barzun and Taylor (Fifty Classics of Crime) 3. Pronzini & Muller, p. 133. ("It contains more classic short stories than almost any other mystery collection before or since. . . . if Father Brown lacks the colorful eccentricities of Sherlock Holmes, if his solutions are often more intuition than deduction, this book is still a masterpiece, the single volume by which G. K. Chesterton is most likely to be remembered."). Near Fine+. Item #BB1960
A collection of ten short stories that appeared originally in two British periodicals, Storyteller and Cassell's Magazine (“The Blue Cross,” “The Eye of Apollo,” “The Flying Stars,” “The Hammer of God,” “The Honor of Israel Gow,” “The Invisible Man,” “The Queer Feet,” “The Secret Garden,” “The Sign of the Broken Sword,” “The Sins of Prince Saradine,” “The Three Tools of Death," and “The Wrong Shape”), initiating Chesterton's long-running series of detective stories. The unassuming, diminutive Roman Catholic priest makes his first appearance in “The Blue Cross,” beside Valentin, "head of the Paris police and the most famous investigator of the world," and the reformed criminal M. Hercule Flambeau, the internationally infamous "colossus of crime." Father Brown, who ultimately featured in 53 short stories published between 1910 and 1936, was based on the real Father John O'Connor, who was involved in Chesterton's conversion to Catholicism in 1922, although similarities between the two were "internal" (a "clever mind, penetrating insight, a gift for careful observation, and a deep understanding of human evil" is how the Britannica puts it) rather than related to outward demeanor. N. B. With few exceptions (always identified), we only stock books in exceptional condition, carefully preserved in archival, removable mylar sleeves. All orders are packaged with care and posted promptly. Satisfaction guaranteed. (Fine Editions Ltd is a member of the Independent Online Booksellers Association, and we subscribe to its codes of ethics.).