Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The Man Who Knew Too Much - by G.K. Chesterton

The Man Who Knew Too Much by G.K. Chesterton is a short story collection from 1922. (US Edition)  (UK Edition) All the stories are about a quirky detective who "knows too much... and all the wrong things."

As one reviewer puts it “ . . . it is worth getting it on your Kindle and then dipping in whenever you feel to; I thoroughly enjoyed the progressions through cases and by the end of the book was quite attached to the character. Give it a go!”

Let’s see how strange this detective is.  Meet Horne Fisher:

"I must ask you, Mr. Fisher, to let me conduct my inquiry on my own lines," said Wilson, firmly. "I am the officer in charge now."

"Yes," remarked Horne Fisher, softly, but with an accent that somehow chilled the hearer. "Yes. But why?"

Sir Walter was staring, for he had never seen his rather lackadaisical young friend look like that before. Fisher was looking at Wilson with lifted lids, and the eyes under them seemed to have shed or shifted a film, as do the eyes of an eagle.

"Why are you the officer in charge now?" he asked. "Why can you conduct the inquiry on your own lines now? How did it come about, I wonder, that the elder officers are not here to interfere with anything you do?"

Well, that is pretty odd!  It makes me want to know what happens next; but on to another story:

Very few people, if any, had ever seen Mr. Horne Fisher behave as he behaved just then. He flashed a glance at the door, saw that the open window was nearer, went out of it with a flying leap, as if over a hurdle, and went racing across the turf, in the track of the disappearing policeman. Grayne, who stood staring after him, soon saw his tall, loose figure, returning, restored to all its normal limpness and air of leisure. He was fanning himself slowly with a piece of paper, the telegram he had so violently intercepted.

"Lucky I stopped that," he observed. "We must keep this affair as quiet as death. Hastings must die of apoplexy or heart disease."

"What on earth is the trouble?" demanded the other investigator.

"The trouble is," said Fisher, "that in a few days we should have had a very agreeable alternative--of hanging an innocent man or knocking the British Empire to hell."

I think this book will make a satisfying start to a new year of reading.
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