“I cannot think there is anything so heart-breaking in hell.”

G. K. CHESTERTON: The Awful Reason of the Vicar’s Visit

“…the tempests no longer devour our navies, nor the mountains with hearts of fire heap hell over our cities.”

Well, when I read that at the start, I thought we had an even more unreliable narrator than that of the The Treasure of Abbot Thomas story, which turned out to have a monkeypox monster with tentacles, and here, in the Chesterton, chimpanzees. But now I am prey to the SPOILER! So, beware! Do not read further into this review! 

A mad story of old ladies at a Dorcas meeting… “…out of their poke-bonnets; the figures of district visitors with the faces of devils. I cannot think there is anything so heart-breaking in hell.”

Don’t let me detain you though at that earlier point above of a mock plot-spoiler warning, because this story is about detaining itself. Detaining as a job, and depending on the assumed identity of your detaining rôle, the fee is different. Here a man, tussling with a collar stud, is detained from going to a dinner party, by a visit from a flappy, floppy, Vicar belonging to my county of Essex, a Vicar whose urgent plea for a speed or urgency has an even more be-longing Zeno’s Paradox of fictional detainment by his deliberation of dialogue style, and his covering of all necessary detective-story machinations. But who is ‘Major Brown’ in this story? Well, it’s not that man-servant called Brown from the Abbot’s treasure story, but Father Brown in disguise! (Unreliable narrators need equally unreliable reviewers, I guess.)

“He lived perpetually near the vision of the reason of things which makes men lose their reason. And I felt of his insanity as men feel of the death of friends with heart disease.”
***
My reviews of all the many stories by G.K.C. about Father Brown: https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/2015/09/30/the-complete-father-brown-stories-g-k-chesterton/

Full context of the above Vicar’s Visit review: https://nemonymousnight.wordpress.com/915-2/

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