Tag Archives: G.K. Chesterton

2013 January meeting

In today’s session, we discussed “The Man in the Passage”, a short detective story by British author G.K. Chesterton. The mystery is solved by one of Chesterton’s memorable characters, Father Brown, a Catholic priest. Father Brown has taken his place in the pantheon of famous detectives, alongside Sherlock Holmes, Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple.

Chesterton was born a generation before C.S. Lewis. They were both Christians and both wrote about Christianity for the general public. They also both wrote fiction which helped to make them nationally, then internationally, famous.

In today’s session, I mentioned something about the “rules of detective stories”. I was referring to the “Twenty Rules for Writing Detective Stories” (1928), by S.S. Van Dine, the pen-name of Willard Huntington Wright, an American journalist and fiction writer. If any of you can find a Japanese translation of this online, please let me know. Do you think Chesterton obeyed all these rules in “The Man in the Passage”?

Update: a reader has found a Japanese translation here 探偵小説を書くときの二十則

Here are the first 3 rules:

  1. The reader must have equal opportunity with the detective for solving the mystery. All clues must be plainly stated and described.

2. No willful tricks or deceptions may be placed on the reader other than those played legitimately by the criminal on the detective himself.

3. There must be no love interest. The business in hand is to bring a criminal to the bar of justice, not to bring a lovelorn couple to the hymeneal altar.

For February’s session, we will read a shorty story for children written by Rudyard Kipling: “How the Elephant Got its Trunk” (also called “Elephant’s Child”)  from the Just-So stories. Kipling was the first English-language author to win the Nobel Prize for literature, in 1907 (he was 41 years old). He was a contemporary of Mark Twain, and friend of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Henry James.