September 2010 will be special. It’s the anniversary of a beloved detective. In September of 1910, G.K. Chesterton wrote a short story that appeared in the Story Teller. The story featured an unassuming priest who had a knack for solving crimes. And so was born, Father Brown.
Father Brown made more than 50 appearances in short stories, which were complied into five seperate books. Father Brown has been in movies, and with a greater staying power than his contempories.
For a detective franchise to turn 100 is an extraordinary thing. The only other detective I know of who has been around longer has been Brown’s fictional countryman Sherlock Holmes.
You can rest assured that next year, we will celebrate the first appearance of Father Brown. Ideally, it’d be in September, but there are two episodes of the Old Time Radio Adventures of Father Brown that starred Karl Swenson and we will work these episodes in to our programming sometime next year.
Father Brown was the first of many clerical detectives. This site has a ponderous list of clergy detectives, most of which would get into some interesting theological discussions with the good padre. However, they all owe their very existence to the first clergyman of detective fiction.
Watching this video clip of Father Brown, his influence as the unassuming albeit brilliant detective is clear. Lieutenant Columbo owes quite a bit to Father Brown.