English and Modern Languages
Master of Arts (MA)
Karen Swallow Prior
chesterton, detective, father brown, holmes, mystery, paradox
Christianity | English Language and Literature | Literature in English, British Isles | Modern Literature
Stumme, Clifford, "Detective Fiction Reinvention and Didacticism in G. K. Chesterton's Father Brown" (2014). Masters Theses. 347.
In the Father Brown stories, G. K. Chesterton reengineers the classic detective story so that it can be a vehicle for didactic messages. Through a rethinking of mysteries, a repurposing of secondary characters, and a subversion of Holmsean-type detectives, Chesterton is able to insert philosophic ideas into his stories while still entertaining readers. Differing from earlier detective stories, the Father Brown mysteries showcase an acceptance of the spiritual and a natural empathy for all characters whether criminal or no. In my research, I show how, through these stories, Chesterton posits messages that are new to the mystery genre and how he is able to leave an indelible mark on the most basic assumptions of detective fiction.