To celebrate the 100th anniversary of G. K. Chesterton's Father Brown mysteries, BBC One Daytime has commissioned a new 10-part drama series for January 2013 to bring the priest-turned-detective back to life. BBC Books will be publishing a new edition of the original and complete short stories to tie-in to transmission.
Set in the early-twentieth century, Father Brown's world is quintessentially English; crime scenes await in country houses, rural parish churches and quaint gardens as well as foggy London streets and shadowy railway stations. Father Brown may be a kindly cleric, but his bumbling nature disguises a detective mind to rival Sherlock Holmes...
The character of Father Brown, brought to life by Mark Williams, is based on a real parish priest and the idea that priests, through hearing Confession, know the worst of human nature more than anyone, including the police. Father Brown uses his experiences to put himself into the mind of the criminal to solve each mystery and catch the perpetrators.
Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874 - 1936) studied art at Slade School and literature at University College London before ending his studies early without qualifications. From 1900 he worked his way to become a freelance art and literary critic then a regular columnist and later a prolific writer (he has many essays, poems, short stories, novels and plays to his name). Forty eight of the Father Brown short stories first appeared in various, now unknown, magazines and were later collected into five books: The Innocence of Father Brown, published in 1911; The Wisdom of Father Brown, published in 1914; The Incredulity of Father Brown, published in 1926; The Secrets of Father Brown, published in 1927; and The Scandal of Father Brown, published in 1935. This edition also includes 'The Doddington Affair', the first half of which was published in Premier Magazines in 1914 with the challenge to G. K. Chesterton to finish and solve the mystery. He did so in the following issue. 'The Vampire of the Village', which also appears in this edition under The Scandal of Father Brown, was first published in 1936.