Read the man who knew too much by G.K. Chesterton Online


A prolific and popular writer, G. K. Chesterton (1874–1936) is best known as the creator of detective-priest Father Brown (even though Chesterton's mystery stories constitute only a small fraction of his writings). The eight adventures in this classic British mystery trace the activities of Horne Fisher, the man who knew too much, and his trusted friend Harold March. AlthoA prolific and popular writer, G. K. Chesterton (1874–1936) is best known as the creator of detective-priest Father Brown (even though Chesterton's mystery stories constitute only a small fraction of his writings). The eight adventures in this classic British mystery trace the activities of Horne Fisher, the man who knew too much, and his trusted friend Harold March. Although Horne's keen mind and powerful deductive gifts make him a natural sleuth, his inquiries have a way of developing moral complications. Notable for their wit and sense of wonder, these tales offer an evocative portrait of upper-crust society in pre–World War I England....

Title : the man who knew too much
Author :
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ISBN : 6218431
Format Type : Kindle Edition
Number of Pages : 184 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

the man who knew too much Reviews

  • Jonathan Terrington
    2019-02-08 01:26

    G.K. Chesterton is an author who simply must be read by anyone fascinated by quality detective literature. Or literature in general for that matter. His insights into human nature, particular regarding morality, psychology and the soul or heart are profound. At the same time the mixture of wit, sarcasm, humour and paradox he weaves together is fascinatingly powerful. To put it simply, Chesterton's writing is unique. Not unique as Mervyn Peake is unique in his word choice. Or unique in the way that Oscar Wilde is unique with his wit or Edgar Allan Poe is with his gothic horror. No, Chesterton is unique in his own particular way. He is unique in the way he blends detective fiction with the metaphysical and with a sense of the supernatural, allowing for an inquiry into deep themes. He is unique in his resolution and the process with which he carries off his plots. When you think you have Chesterton figured out as a reader you rarely do.Add to the fact of Chesterton's unusual approach to literature the other aspect of the sheer ease of beauty of his prose and you have a master writer. Chesterton may not possess elegance of some authors with their styles (in many regards he is more an Anton Chekhov than James Joyce) but nothing he has written has ever been clumsy. He possesses a clarity of mind and ability to communicate that prevents inelegance through sheer clumsiness or overphrasing.The Man Who Knew Too Much is not Chesterton's finest work. However it is a fine work regardless and certainly classic in every sense. It features a collection of short stories centering around Horne Fisher - the man who knew too much and too much about all the wrong things. Through eight different stories Fisher uses his knowledge to divulge the real criminals of different crimes from murder to theft. However it is not the resolutions themselves that (though clever twists they prove to be) are the main crux of the stories. The real issue is in the dilemma Chesterton throws up - that though by law the criminals in the end may be punished, morally they may have escaped (though their souls be damned). There is the sense that Chesterton contrasts legal justice with moral or spiritual justice and concludes that ultimately though spiritual justice has far greater effect.This is certainly worth reading and if as a reader you have not spared Chesterton the time he is a priority in the near future. Perhaps any one of the collections to be found in The Complete Father Brown may suffice. For looking at the spiritual, psychological and ethical issues and ideas surrounding crimes there are few better than the prince of paradox - Chesterton. In examining crimes and criminality he examines humanity itself.

  • Darwin8u
    2019-02-11 23:00

    “Modern intelligence won't accept anything on authority. But it will accept anything without authority.” ― G.K. Chesterton, The Man Who Knew Too MuchA collection of Chesterton detective stories revolving around Horne Fisher and his companion, political journalist Harold March. These stories have a lot of the same late Victorian/Edwardian flavor of Sherlock Holmes and Chesterton's own Father Brown stories. The reluctant, and moral protagonist of The Man Who Knew Too Much, however, is often forced by greater-good circumstance or a need to protect the best interests of England from revealing the killer or the culprit. The strengths of these stories revolves around the clever paradoxes that the Chesterton (the dark prince of paradox) knows too well. The weakness of these stories (and the reason I gave them 3 stars and not 4 stars) is the unsubtle antisemitism that pops up in a couple of them (especially 'the Bottomless Well'). Stories include:"The Face in the Target""The Vanishing Prince""The Soul of the Schoolboy""The Bottomless Well""The Hole in the Wall""The Fad of the Fisherman""The Fool of the Family""The Vengeance of the Statue"

  • [Name Redacted]
    2019-01-31 05:06

    Amazingly cynical and subversive detective stories, of the sort I never would have expected from Chesterton! The titular character gives himself that monicker because he is related to / friends with nearly all the important people in Britain, and therefore knows exactly how the country is REALLY run and how the legal system REALLY works. This inspires in him a sense of fatalism and resignation, as he sees the backroom deals, cover-ups and treachery which make the world go 'round, and he solves numerous crimes only to see the guilty parties escape justice due to their power, influence, wealth or even the prejudices of the local constabulary. In essence, it's Chesterton criticizing both British politics and human nature through the medium of dark-yet-beautiful detective stories. And it works.

  • Pradnya K.
    2019-02-11 04:05

    I missed a clever deduction like Holmes'. I missed serene country backdrop like Christie portrays. The climax of stories are revealed in a bit unhappening way for detective stories. Why I kept going on was the writing. Loved it! I think the modern mystery novels are technically advanced and we expect the detective to be clever, unorthodox hero who twirls magic wand of sudden revelations ( like that of Patrick Jane) so it's not easy to like the Horne Fisher. Plus the stories are too short and less to develop a proper character. Yet I believe back then, he was loved. Thanks or rather blame the time few good books are becoming obsolete for it. But the writing stands still like 24 k gold.

  • Cleo
    2019-02-14 01:29

    As always an awesome and unique story by Chesterton!

  • Madhulika Liddle
    2019-02-02 01:27

    Languid, prematurely balding Horne Fisher is the man who knows too much: whether it’s about plankton or guns, the history of old houses and place names, or the sordid pasts of Britain’s most illustrious. Legends, mathematics, weapons, literature, science—Fisher knows it all like the back of his hand. And this is what makes him a fine detective: because, in the barest of crime scenes, he sees clues that escape others. I must admit I wanted to read this book because I have a particular fondness for GK Chesterton’s immensely likeable Father Brown series—the little Catholic priest is one of my favourite detectives, and one of the stories which feature him (The Queer Feet) I rate as the cleverest, most ingenious detective short story I've ever read. I had great hopes of The Man Who Knew Too Much. This is a collection of short stories, nearly all of them set in the countryside, often in large manor houses, amidst a motley crowd of house guests. Fisher’s nearness to the major politicians of the country (and his own long-ago stint as an aspiring politician) mean that a lot of the stories revolve around politics—national and international—as a motive. This also means that several of the stories are similar in tone and motive, tending to blur at times. Chesterton often does not go deep into detail, so more than once I ended a story feeling somewhat cheated: I'd have liked more explanation, a longer unfolding of the truth, a deeper insight into the motive. There are some exceptions, notable ones being The Bottomless Well and The Hole in the Wall, where the author does justice to the story, not just explaining the unraveling of the clue, but also setting up the scene well. And, importantly, letting something other than Fisher’s all-encompassing knowledge help him solve a case. On the whole, this was a pleasant enough one-time read, but I'm unlikely to be going back to this book. A couple of the mysteries are not especially intriguing, and through most of the stories, whenever I tried to figure out who the culprit was, I ended up finding I was barking up the wrong tree—because some piece of arcane knowledge possessed only by the criminal and the inimitable Horne Fisher formed the clue that solved the mystery. Not, as most aficionados of detective fiction will tell you, a good way to keep a reader hooked. Read if you want more Chesterton, but don't expect stories of the intricacy, the deep knowledge of human nature, and the sheer memorability of the Father Brown series.

  • Julie Davis
    2019-02-10 00:24

    Who knew these were short mystery stories instead of a long, possibly lame novel that was made into an exciting early movie in 1934 with Peter Lorre or a definitely lame 1956 movie with Doris Day singing all the time? Not me, at least until listening to B.J. Harrison's excellent narration on The Classic Tales podcast. These stories are great fun to listen to and occasionally solve. And even when I know whodunnit I don't know why they dunnit. Which is just as much fun to find out.

  • Ozoneocean
    2019-01-29 02:21

    This was a good book.It's definitely NOT about a "sleuth" or detective or anything of the sort. Horne Fisher puzzles out various murders and mysteries incidentally, these are never his main concern, to imagine that they are would indicate the most superficial reading of the novel. He is a man mired in the politics and intrigues of his family and the upper-crust of England, each "crime" and mystery simply serves to illustrate Fisher's brilliance, the way he sees "behind" things because of his wealth of secret knowledge of what's "really" going on, the turgid murkiness and corruption in upper echelon British politics, decadent aristocracy and avaricious, unscrupulous new money, all verses the true British patriotism of Horne Fisher and journalist Harold March- who Horne is continually educating as to the "true" nature of things.

  • James
    2019-02-09 06:14

    An interesting collection of short story detective fiction. Very interesting, almost odd. But in a good way. They're short stories, so lighter on character development than a longer work, but you still pick up a pretty opinion on the main character after a couple of the stories. Almost likeable, but maybe with a little bit too much self-indulgent self-pity.Horne Fisher is a man who knows too much. He wishes he didn't, but he does. And it's a curse. It's a curse because as he solves each case (which he's bound to do because he knows too much) he realises that, again, because he knows too much he knows that he can't bring the criminal to justice. Some will be accidents, some will be covered up, others will be just left unsolved. Each time because Horne Fisher knows, and understands, that to make the crime or the criminal public will bring down governments, cause wars or destabilise countries.He feels a sense of guilt from his complicity, but because he's part of the system that he's protecting he doesn't have the strength of character to break with the peer pressure he feels and let justice prevail. That he lacks this strength of character only strengthens his sense of guilt.Luckily, throughout many of the stories, he has a friend. Journalist Harold March - his Dr. Watson. There to document the stories in part, but more importantly to play the outsider and the conscience to Horne Fisher's self-pitying detachment.The writing is a little dated, but then it was written in 1922. Luckily the style is still very accessible and it does mean that the Kindle version is available for free...

  • Sesana
    2019-02-05 06:28

    Mixed feelings. On one hand, Chesterton's prose is often lovely (this is the first I've read from him) and a few of the mysteries are quite engaging. On the other hand, his detective character, Fisher, wasn't engaging for me, and I got tired of the collection's gimmick quickly: murders are intentionally covered up, or the wrong men charged with them, because of the political situation. And while that is a probably too realistic and chilling outcome the first few times, after awhile it makes the outcome predictable. It's well written, of course, but just not my thing.

  • Chris Huff
    2019-02-20 05:26

    Chesterton's writing style is simultaneously cognitive and gripping. He lost me a few times (actually, quite often, but that had more to do with the dry audio version that I listened to). I regret not paying closer attention, because I missed some of the clever writing and reflections that many other reviews point out.Although somewhat formulaic, each of the stories was interesting enough to keep one's attention in order to discover the twist. I would have liked to have read different kinds of mysteries, rather than just murders and cover-ups. But I suppose that is the bulk of mystery novels, and this one did have a few unexpected solutions.I'm interested to read more Chesterton. But I think I'll avoid any audio versions, as I think I would have given this 5 stars had I put in the extra effort to read it. Gives you more opportunity to think and reflect.

  • Leslie
    2019-02-02 22:03

    I didn't much care for Wiederman's narration, which made me resort to following along or rereading certain sections in my Kindle edition in order to understand what was happening. Oh well, it was free so nothing lost!

  • Leslie
    2019-02-23 00:17

    2.5*There is something about Chesterton's writing style that I don't quite like. I noticed this before in reading some of the Father Brown stories. The plots are interesting enough yet I can't say that I like them.

  • Roxana-Mălina Chirilă
    2019-02-17 05:03

    Very quotable, but the prose is a bit dense - dense enough, I'm afraid, that it lost me a few times. Other people don't seem to have the same issue, so maybe it's just me, reading it when I was too tired and noticing the quips rather than keeping up with the plot."The Man Who Knew Too Much" is a collection of short stories about a man who hangs out with politicians (and is part of a family of politicians himself) and a journalist. They solve all sorts of crimes which turn out to have political implications and must therefore never be revealed to the general public, or the consequences would be terrible.

  • Kevin
    2019-02-06 05:25

    Not sure what I was expecting out of this one. I picked it off of Project Gutenberg's top 100 list thinking maybe it was related to the film of the same name. It's not, but since I've never seen the film, I'm not disappointed.It's a series of "detective" stories that strike me as a little odd because there are very few of them that I think I might have been able to puzzle out on my own. Perhaps I'm coddled by modern authors holding my hand through every twist and leaving a phosphorescent trail of clues. Perhaps that's the point of Chesterton's stories - his protagonist Horne Fisher is so strangely brilliant he can see the angles even when they're hardly visible after the reveal. I feel it would not be inaccurate to say that these aren't mystery stories so much as they're a series of vignettes about this strange man and he often happens to solve a few things while being written about.Even that description gives the wrong impression, as there are no "aha, we have you the killer! Now to wait for the police to arrest him!" moments. There's far more "but you see, my friend, the butcher (who we just saw arrested) wasn't actually the murderer. If it were let out that Lord Culverton's man - for he is the true murderer - was the culprit, there would be a scandal that would threaten to destroy England herself because of [reasons]" all of which is said by Fisher sadly, as if you can hear the weight on his shoulders. It was entertaining to see any sort of murder mystery where justice was deliberately not done (on a small scale) to save the world.The first time, that is. Afterward it got a little bit tiring, as if that were Chesterton's main schtick - "Consider the ramifications!"I think I would require a deeper understanding (okay, any understanding) of the political system in the United Kingdom in the late 19th / early 20th century to really truly get my teeth into these stories.Still, I had fun. Horne Fisher is a ... maybe not fascinating character but at least intriguing. I hear that Chesterton's 'Father Brown' stories are more widely known and enjoyed; perhaps I'll try those next.Better yet, I'm going to go revisit Doyle since it's been ages since I read any Sherlock Holmes stories.

  • Karo
    2019-02-07 01:17

    I guess this is a book that is worth some deeper research than just downloading it for free because it sounds vaguely important. And since that's clearly one of those shoulda things that never actually happen, this is going to be a poor excuse for a review.First of all, it quickly dawned on me that it's actually a collection of short stories. A proper book would have told me that on the sleeve (and I would have promptly put it back), but ebooks are a mysterious entity without sleeves. ("Wait a minute?! Donkeys don't have sleeves! - You KNOW what I mean!")The stories are connected in that they all feature Horne Fisher, mysterious, tired, well-connected, liberal: The Man Who Knew Too Much. They are all mystery cases on the outside, but political ones, and as such generally with a disappointing, anti-climatical outcome. Fisher knows politics, being related to half the country's political elite. He knows that the big fish will never get caught, that society can't change as long as this knowledge holds true, and that he, despite his knowledge, can not help the country.The book was written in 1922, and it becomes more socialist over the course of the stories. Horne Fisher, an aristocrat himself, struggles with his privileges when the working classes are so obviously disadvantaged.Personally, the older I get, the less well I can cope with politics. I only finished the book because I was already halfway through, and because Chesterton's writing is really very, very good. I tried to ignore the unsubtle political views of the main character, although I might have muttered to myself a fair bit (I never even started The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists because I was shouting abuse just reading the sleeve notes. I really am not a conservative, but unsubtle socialist warblings drive me up the wall. I guess I just don't like being hit around the head with moralistic bricks). I think I need a breather now, but I'll be definitely reading more of Chesterton's writing soon.

  • Ivan Damjanović
    2019-01-29 02:10

    Osam whodunit priča smještenih u mikrosvemir gdje centralnu figuru predstavlja naslovni ’čovjek koji je previše znao’- Horne Fisher uz svog sidekicka, tj. prijatelja Harolda Marcha (političkog novinara i društvenog kritičara- piščev alter ego, a i Fisher ima autorovih karakteristika, tj. autobiografskih crta). Fisher ima rodbinu u samom vrhu engleske politike (dva bratića i ujak su ministri te premijer), pa eto kruga radnje. Riječ je, vjerojatno, o prvoj krimi ligi: Chestertonove krimiće iznimno je cijenio Borges, ali, kao što sam već spominjao, ne volim baš krimiće. Ovi su pisani iznimnim, zahtjevnim stil koji me na mahove umarao.Za izdvojiti je, između ostaloga, bljeskove genijalnog dijaloga i umnih doskočica te solidne plot twistove. Horne Fisher koji je „izgledao kao da se rodio umoran“ (usp. Lt. Columbo) i kaže za sebe „znam previše toga, ali sve krive stvari“ generalno je dopadljiv lik.“Osveta kipa“- plot twist s braćom kao u Better Call Saul.Odličan, koncizan pogovor u izdanju Partenona.Hitchcock je posudio samo naslov za sadržajno nevezani film, a postoji, naravno, i parodija Čovjek koji je premalo znao s Billom Murrayem u naslovnoj ulozi.

  • Sophie Narey (Bookreview- aholic)
    2019-01-31 00:20

    Published:01/04/1999Author: G.K ChestertonI found this version for free on Amazon Kindle and thought I would give it a try as I like detective novels. This is a collection of his novels that revolve around the character of Horne Fisher, the writing style of G.K Chesterton is what kept my attention and kept me hooked on the stories. Horne Fisher isn't a character who is easy to like and get along with as he isn't like the detectives we are now used too. I found that the stories were too short and didn't develop the characters much so that you don't get a sense of who they are and what they are capable of to see if you can solve the mystery yourself. I don't tend to like short detective novels due to the fact you can't get good descriptions of the characters.

  • Sylvester
    2019-01-23 22:28

    In the same vein as the "Father Brown" mysteries, only with Horne Fisher - the man who knows too much - as the super-sleuth. That idea of knowing too much - about human nature, and about certain humans in particular - is carried throughout, and adds depth to the otherwise lighthearted mysteries. I liked these more than the "Father Brown" stories, and am impressed by the diversity of Chesterton's writings.

  • Helga
    2019-02-07 23:25

    Fascinating and enjoyable short stories

  • Sean O
    2019-02-04 01:11

    Chesterton is more famous for his Father Brown detective stories, but this collection of tales about Horne Fisher is Chesterton's attempt to make a cynical Sherlock. Fisher knows too much, and can literally "blow it all apart" with the things he knows about politics, society, and human nature. He weaves a crooked line through the several tales, trying to obtain justice from an unjust society. Keeping things hidden for the greater good. Is he successful? Yes. It's an interesting concept and Chesterton does a good job creating story after story that shows Fisher's talent and skill. A couple of tales are marred by Chesterton's rather zealous bigotry against Germans, "Moslems", and some perfidious antisemitism. There's also a bunch of hand-waving where political things are discussed in a very "us vs them" mentality with little detail. If you can stomach those flaws, this is a good collection.

  • Kelly
    2019-01-28 22:05

    This collection of eight mystery tales featuring detective Horn Fisher was enjoyable but doesn’t stand up to the quality or intricacy of stories written by the great mystery authors such as Christie, Poe, or Doyle.

  • Evgeny
    2019-02-23 23:21

    This is a collection of eight short stories about a self-proclaimed man who knew too much Horne Fisher. His analytical skills are rival those of Sherlock Holmes; he also has a trusted sidekick like a proper private investigator. His Dr. Watson is a journalist Harold March. What is the catch? Fisher stumbles upon crimes in high society and he really knows too much do try doing something against each culprit whose identity he is able to figure out all the time without failing. These people are untouchable due to their high influence, general reluctance of the people in power to show dirty laundry in public, "for the good of the country", and other similar reasons.The mystery part of the stories is always good and I like most of them more than the ones of the most famous Chesterton's detective Father Brown. For me seeing the murderers, traitors, and other serious criminal escaping justice was quite depressing as well as cynical - but this is exactly how it works in real life, unfortunately. We often have to look away to let people escape justice because the alternative seems to be the greater evil, but is it really? Do not expect clear answer to his.The book receives one less star for depressing parts. It takes place in Victorian England, but it might as well at any place in the modern society; some things never change.This review is a copy/paste of my BookLikes one:

  • Ellen Trautner
    2019-02-02 02:14

    This is good, but not what I expected at all! I had seen the Alfred Hitchcock movie of the same name (the one starring Jimmy Stewart) and thought this would be a suspenseful story and a boy would get kidnapped because his dad unwittingly overheard criminals talking, and then the mom sings "Que Sera Sera" and the boy is found. (Oh, um, spoiler alert for the movie.) Luckily, no spoiler alert needed for the book, because it's nothing like that at all! It's a series of short stories that have mysteries that are all figured out by the titular man. The "too much" that he knows refers to behind the scenes and under the table political deals and scandals and the like. Even though he solves mysteries, justice isn't always accomplished because of these secret deals. He knows this, and so is slightly jaded about the world, but still seems to enjoy the puzzles at least. And I did too! They were fun to try to figure out along the way, kind of like Sherlock Holmes.

  • Joseph
    2019-02-07 00:05

    Although billed as detective stories, these are instead a collection of tales of political satire. The Man Who Knew Too Much is Horne Fisher, who is related to or knows most of the British ruling/political class. Although a series of murders take place, nothing is ever done about them because of who is involved with each of them, and the consequences of letting the public know what they have done. Chesterton was not a socialist, but he did have a feel for the common man and his struggles, and it shows in this book. I don't know if his and Belloc's theory of distributism was fully accomplished yet, but the seeds are there.I can't say I loved this book but it had its moments. The writing is lively and the conclusions of the stories make sense, even though Horne Fisher seems to figure them out rather easily.

  • Bill
    2019-01-25 01:15

    Eight short stories with a detective unlike many others, because this one knows a little too much about the matters that he finds himself in, and that sometimes can be a problem, believe it or not!With his usual fluid and clean style, G.K. Chesterton gives us different tales as he did in his many Father Brown stories – this is a terrific read and since they are short tales, you can read them over breakfast, commuting, at lunch or a quiet moment when you’re just need a little something special for yourself – a treat – for that is what they are – and you know you DESERVE a treat today…and tomorrow, too, right?

  • Josh Hamacher
    2019-02-13 02:20

    I was expecting a collection of Holmesian mystery stories. Instead I was faced with what I assume is social satire, but of an age and a nation I'm not familiar with. The prose is dense, overly descriptive, and to my mind inelegant. The characters are one-dimensional and utterly unbelievable. I can't say I actively disliked this book, as parts of it were clever and entertaining, but finishing it definitely took a certain amount of willpower.

  • Cphe
    2019-02-02 04:16

    A collection of eight short mysteries, "whodunits", all connected by the same characters Horne Fisher and Harold March. Some of the short mysteries are better than others, a few quite defy belief and some are not politically correct by any means. The Face In The Target and The Vengence of the Statue were the two stronger mysteries in my opinion.Not a great deal of characterisation, but wonderful for atmosphere, time and place.

  • Laurel Hicks
    2019-02-22 05:12

    Eight stories featuring the title character, Home Fisher, a perceptive solver of crimes who does not indict his criminals, because he knows too much of the background story and the dangers into which the nation would fall if certain things were revealed. The stories: "The Face in the Target""The Vanishing Prince""The Soul of the Schoolboy""The Bottomless Well""The Hole in the Wall""The Fad of the Fisherman""The Fool of the Family""The Vengeance of the Statue"

  • Eric Orchard
    2019-02-05 02:20

    Reading any Chesterton book is like hanging out with a great friend. His writing is comfortable and companionable.More of a meditation on the nature of mystery and the mysterious than a proper collection of detective or crime stories they are still tightly written and compelling.