A Catholic priest known simply as "Father Brown" was, once upon a time, a celebrity in his native England, and his reputation extended even to the United States. Much to his dismay, his genius for helping the police with their most difficult cases gradually found its way into the newspapers. Yet for all his fame, or notoriety, as some called it, he suddenly disappeared from public view. Father Brown made headlines last in 1936 after he exposed an embezzler in one of England's provincial towns.
Some of the priest's many acquaintances supposed that he had retired without fanfare to a monastery. Others thought he might have been given a secret assignment in Rome. There were even a few who feared he might have died among strangers while traveling abroad. More than thirty years were to pass before he once again came to public notice; and, as Father Brown was never one to talk much about himself, his activities during the intervening years remain a mystery to this day.
Father Brown's whereabouts came to light in 1972 when he changed the direction of several criminal investigations in a small town in the American Midwest. Though in his nineties, the priest had lost none of his mental sharpness and was surprisingly vigorous for his age. he had traded his battered black umbrella for a gnarled wooden cane and spent his days serving as a kind of general assistant to the pastor of St. Dominic's, celebrating Mass, instructing catechumens, and spinning tales for the granddaughter of the rectory's housekeeper.
Father Brown would have been quite happy to continue in this anonymous service, and might have done so if his talent for detection had not gradually surfaced and eventually come to the attention of the Bardo County Sheriff's Department. This led to an ever-deepening involvement in the sheriff's business, and it is those stories, in the main, that are reported in the pages that follow.
"A jewel, a treasure, a thing to be enjoyed again and again."
– G.J. Meyer, award winning author of A World Undone: The Story of the Great War
"Father Brown made his fame by being quite ordinary; he is as plain as a Norfolk dumpling. In these new stories, despite his age and his need for a cane, his mind continues to be as sharp as a tack, his powers of reasoning clear, his moral fiber, well, fibrous."
– Nancy Carpentier-Brown, author of The Father Brown Reader and other books about Chesterton's famous detective-priest
"Criminals from the merely inept to the fiendishly clever, beware: Father Brown is very much alive and on your trail in Bardo County."
– Therese Warmus, Literary Editor, Gilbert Magazine