Robbery, murder and treason. Strange happenings in quiet English villages. A book critic who happens to find a corpse with its head crushed, an Irish freedom fighter framed for a crime, the disappearance of a valuable coin, a strange dispute over a property claim and a host of other intriguing situations make up the contents of G K Chesterton's collection of short stories The Man Who Knew Too Much. For fans of Chesterton's immortal clerical sleuth, Father Brown, these stories are equally delightful and intricately wrought. The man who knows too much is in fact, the protagonist, Horne Fisher, who is doomed to solve mysteries, but faces a moral dilemma each time he arrives at the solution. He is connected by blood and friendship to all the leading political figures of the country and a wrong move on his part could bring the government down. Hence, in all these stories, Horne Fisher's intelligence allows him to unravel the most complex of enigmas and then discover that things are not as simple as they seem. Often the victims deserve their fate and are in fact more criminal than their killers.
Fisher is accompanied in his investigations by a young reporter, Harold March, with whom he engages in long philosophical conversations. These are another attractive feature of the stories. Apart from the mystery element the stories provide deep insights into the murky world of politics and the darker side of human nature. They have continued to delight readers since they first appeared in 1922. The stories are also brilliant examples of Chesterton's craft. His mastery over the language, brilliant style and deeply humanitarian outlook make these stories a delight for readers of any age.
Gilbert Keith Chesterton was a multitalented English genius. He was a poet, biographer (he wrote a detailed biography of Charles Dickens) theologian, playwright, hymn writer, novelist, art and music critic and political philosopher. He authored more than eighty books, thousands of essays, hundreds of poems and contributed extensively to several newspapers. As the contemporary of Oscar Wilde, George Bernard Shaw and Hilaire Belloc, G K Chesterton often engaged in public and deeply philosophical debates with many of them.
For modern day readers, The Man Who Knew Too Much provides valuable insights into the workings of both Edwardian and present day governments. It can be read on several levels and above all, certainly appeals to mystery story fans of any age!
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