[[quoteright:288:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/FatherBrown.jpg]]
[[caption-width-right:288:"The little priest was so much the essence of those Eastern flats; he had a face as round and dull as a Norfolk dumpling; he had eyes as empty as the North Sea; he had several brown paper parcels, which he was quite incapable of collecting."]]

''Father Brown'' is a detective series created by Creator/GKChesterton. The protagonist is actually called Father J. Brown, though we are never told what the initial stands for, and is originally presented as the parish priest of Cobhole in [[UsefulNotes/HomeCounties Essex]], though he is found in parishes as far afield as Italy and South America. In appearance he is undistinguished, small and dumpy, short-sighted and not particularly intelligent; dressed in shabby clerical black, and carrying an umbrella as dumpy and shabby as himself.

The ''Father Brown'' [[MysteryFiction mysteries]] generally appeared first as independent short stories in various magazines; (most of) the stories were eventually collected in a series of five books:

* ''The Innocence of Father Brown'' (1911)
* ''The Wisdom of Father Brown'' (1914)
* ''The Incredulity of Father Brown'' (1926)
* ''The Secret of Father Brown'' (1927), and
* ''The Scandal of Father Brown'' (1935).

Three stories, "The Donnington Affair" (1914) (GKC writing the solution of a mystery set up by Max Pemberton), "The Vampire of the Village" (1936), and "The Mask of Midas" (1936), were published separately, though the second of these was later included in editions of ''Scandal''.

In 1934 a film version of Chesterton's priest based on "The Blue Cross"' appeared with the title ''Father Brown, Detective'', with Walter Connelly in the title rôle. In 1954 ''[[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P-BNonixFao Father Brown]]'' (U.S. title, ''The Detective'') appeared with Alec Guinness as the eponymous priest. Heinz Rühmann played Father Brown in two German adaptations of Chesterton's stories, ''[[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DqXBj4S2kNE Das schwarze Schaf]]'' ("The Black Sheep") (1960) and ''[[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VS8isZQjGO8 Er kann's nicht lassen]]'' ("He Can't Stop Doing It") (1962). (The score to these, by Martin Böttcher, became very popular in Germany.) In 1970 an Italian television series entitled ''[[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cDCVk_MNMe8 I racconti di padre Brown]]'' ("The Tales of Father Brown") starred the well-known Italian comedian Renato Rascel. In 1974, Kenneth More starred in a 13-episode ''[[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3UZG6S-vCY8 Father Brown]]'' TV series, each episode adapted from one of Chesterton's short stories. In 1979, the TV move ''Sanctuary of Fear'' featured an American Father Brown (Barnard Hughes) sleuthing in contemporary New York City.. but the protagonist's only resemblances to Chesterton's character are his name and occupation. A German television series, ''[[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kVKROsrsjXI Pfarrer Braun]]'' ("Pastor Brown"), loosely based on the Chesterton character, is in production since 2003; its title theme by Martin Böttcher is a ShoutOut to the one of the Heinz Rühmann films. A [[http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01q0q11 2013 TV series]] produced by [[TheBBC the BBC]] cast Mark Williams of ''Series/TheFastShow'' and ''Film/HarryPotter'' fame in the title role. The trope page for that show can be found [[Series/FatherBrown here]].

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!! '''Tropes featured in this series include: (Note that the following examples are heavy on spoilers!)'''
* ActuallyThatsMyAssistant: Invoked in "The Scandal of Father Brown"
* AccidentalInnuendo: ''The Red Moon of Meru'' features a doctor peddling the then-popular, now long discredited practice of measuring intelligence by the curves of a person's head. He walks up to a fashionable lady and offers to "feel her bumps."
* AmateurSleuth: Father Brown.
* AttendingYourOwnFuneral: In "The Resurrection of Father Brown"
* AtonementDetective: Father Brown meets and bests a thief named Flambeau, who (to atone for his crimes?) becomes a detective himself.
* BeliefMakesYouStupid: Subverted with extreme prejudice.
** The aversion of this trope is lampshaded in Father Brown's very first story, ''"The Blue Cross"''
-->"...But, as a matter of fact, another part of my trade, too, made me sure you weren't a priest."
-->"What?" asked the thief, almost gaping.
-->"You attacked reason," said Father Brown. "It's bad theology."
** From the same story: "Has it never struck you that a man who does next to nothing but hear men's real sins is not likely to be wholly unaware of human evil?"
* BeMyValentine: Aristide Valentin in "The Blue Cross" and "The Secret Garden."
* BeneathNotice: In "The Invisible Man," a man is murdered and witnesses say they saw nobody. Father Brown figures out that the murderer was dressed as a postman, and the witnesses didn't pay any attention to him.
* BlueBlood: Despite GKC's very commonly expressed dislike of aristocratic systems of government, his work abounds in noblemen, both sympathetic and unsympathetic, ''e.g.'', in "The Purple Wig." Some of them are even of ''real'' aristocratic lineage, too.
* BrownNote: "The Blast Of The Book" revolves around a book that is reported to drive anyone who reads even a few words of it to self-destruction.
* ChurchOfSaintGenericus: Subverted in "The Vampire of the Village", in which Father Brown realises that a purported clergyman is a fake because he shows characteristics of multiple incompatible Christian denominations.
* ColourCodedForYourConvenience: A character with red hair is ''almost'' always Good in Chesterton. Less frequently, BlondGuysAreEvil -- especially if the blondness looks somehow artificial ("gilded").
* {{Confessional}}: Is very often Father Brown's goal for the criminals he detects.
* CriminalMindGames: "The Insoluble Problem"
* DeadPersonImpersonation: In one story, the murderer almost gets away by putting on a bathrobe and pretending to be the man Father Brown was trying to find. In another, the murderer pretends to be his victim, blatantly displays his victim's corpse (disguised as someone else's), fakes 'his' suicide, and gets away. In yet another, someone [[spoiler: in a duel]] pretends to die, later shoots his antagonist, and to avoid detection pretends to be that antagonist, shutting himself away out of guilt.
* DealWithTheDevil: Invoked in "The Dagger With Wings."
* DepthDeception: Referenced in "The Song of the Flying Fish."
* DrivenToSuicide: Not uncommon in the ''Father Brown'' stories, as for instance, in "The Secret Garden": "...and on the blind face of the suicide was all the pride of Cato."
* DuelToTheDeath: In "The Duel of Dr. Hirsch," the eponymous doctor issues is a party in a duel that does not quite come off.
* EurekaMoment: In "The Honour of Israel Gow", Father Brown is uncharacteristically stumped, until a chance remark by Flambeau shows him what he's overlooked.
* EveryoneIsASuspect: "The Arrow of Heaven" is a good example.
* EvilDetectingDog: Subverted heavily in "The Oracle of the Dog".
* ExactWords: Father Brown suffers from this constantly, as in "The Quick One": "...I never said he was a murderer. I said he was the man we wanted."
* FairyTale: As in "The Fairy Tale of Father Brown."
* TheFairFolk: Invoked in "The Sins of Prince Saradine"
* FakeBrit: Kalon in "The Eye of Apollo."
* GenteelInterbellumSetting: Reasonably enough, as all of the stories were written between 1910 and 1936.
* GentlemanThief: Flambeau is an example. Deconstructed in "The Flying Stars", in which Father Brown points out that he has left an innocent person to be blamed for the crime he committed, and persuades him that it's impossible to remain a honourable outlaw without SlowlySlippingIntoEvil.
* GlassShatteringSound: Part of the solution to the mystery in "The Flying Fish".
* GoodIsNotDumb: Regularly invoked by Father Brown himself.
* GreenEyedMonster: Very common, helping to spread round the motive for murder, as in "The Man in the Passage."
* HappilyMarried: Very common in Chesterton -- no doubt reflecting his own happy marriage. One example is Flambeau and his wife in ''The Secret of Father Brown''.
* HiddenInPlainSight: Used in several stories, notably "The Invisible Man."
* {{Hypocrite}}: As, for instance, in "The Ghost of Gideon Wise."
* IdenticalGrandson: In "The Doom of the Darnaways." (Ho-ho!)
* IfJesusThenAliens: Defied. Father Brown is quite devout, but doesn't believe in ''anything'' supernatural at first sight, and is very quick to correct those who attempt to use this logic themselves. Multiple mysteries are mistaken for miracles, curses or what have you, and Brown is usually there to prove that they are quite mundane and staged to look supernatural.
-->‘Yes,’ answered Father Brown, ‘I believe in miracles. I believe in man-eating tigers, but I don’t see them running about everywhere. If I want any miracles, I know where to get them.’
* ImpoverishedPatrician: "The Doom of the Darnaways," for example.
* InMediasRes: "The Eye of Apollo," which begins with Father Brown confronting Kalon before the reader even knows a murder has happened.
* InterdisciplinarySleuth: Father Brown is, as the name would imply, a priest.
* IntrepidReporter: Not a positive example. He observed Father Brown helping a woman run from an ugly man with a handsome one and, assuming it's a typical UglyGuyHotWife scenario, immediately sent a story about how a priest broke a sacred marriage, ruining his reputation. [[spoiler:The ugly one was the lover.]]
* MaliciousSlander
* MistakenForServant: Used in at least two of the stories, "The Queer Feet" and "The Strange Crime of John Boulnois."
* MoralEventHorizon: Discussed [[InUniverse in-universe]] in "The Sign of the Broken Sword". Being a greedy and corrupted traitor? Not okay. Killing the one who found out about that? Real bad. ''[[spoiler:[[UriahGambit Killing half the regiment]] so that no one would suspect the deceased as anything but another casualty of war]]?'' There we go.
* NeedleInAStackOfNeedles: "The Sign of the Broken Sword":
-->Where would a wise man hide a leaf? In the forest. If there were no forest, he would make a forest. And if he wished to hide a dead leaf, he would make a dead forest.
* NiceToTheWaiter: "The Actor and the Alibi"
* NeverSuicide: Subverted in "The Three Tools of Death" when [[spoiler: Sir Aaron Armstrong commits suicide and everyone thinks it's murder.]]
* ObfuscatingStupidity: Father Brown appears to be a simple, not-too-bright parish priest at first glance, and sometimes plays this up to get criminals to drop their guard around him.
* OffWithHisHead: "The Secret Garden"
* PathOfInspiration: "The Eye of Apollo"
* PepperSneeze: In "The Salad of Colonel Cray," a key clue to the mystery is some unexplained sneezes heard near the scene of the crime. It is eventually explained that the criminal sneezed when throwing away to the dustbin the pepper that could have been used to counter the action of the poison he was planning to use.
** Also the explanation for why the assailant '''sneezed''' when shot at. [[spoiler: [[PocketProtector The pepper pot in his pocket stopped the bullet]].]]
* PoliceAreUseless: A police detective complains about this trope in one story. He points out that while the police may not be as intuitively brilliant as the average fictional detective, they are not even shown as having the virtues they do have such as storing and sharing information.
* PreemptiveDeclaration: Used by Father Brown, of all people, in "The Blue Cross."
--> '''Waiter:''' 'The parson at the door he says all serene, 'Sorry to confuse your accounts, but it'll pay for the window.' 'What window?' I says. 'The one I'm going to break,' he says, and smashed that blessed pane with his umbrella.
* PullARabbitOutOfMyHat: In "The Absence of Mr. Glass."
* RevealingCoverup
* RoyalBlood: In "The Sins of Prince Saradine."
* {{Ruritania}}: In "The Fairy Tale of Father Brown" there is the Teutonic "city and state of Heiligwaldenstein."
* SarcasticConfession: As in "The Worst Crime in the World."
* SatchelSwitcheroo: Used ''twice'' in ''The Blue Cross''.
* ScoobyDooHoax: Almost all the stories seems to invoke supernatural elements, only for Father Brown to discover that they have perfectly mundane solutions, see BeliefMakesYouStupid and IfJesusThenAliens.
* SeenItAll: The vast (even shocking) experience of GKC's friend Father John O'Connor so impressed him that he fictionalized the priest in the form of Father Brown, whose first story, "The Blue Cross," is based upon this trope.
* SherlockScan: Subverted in "The Absence of Mr Glass," in which some characters involve a brilliant criminologist in a domestic case, where he concludes with a sinister and dramatic interpretation of some facts. [[spoiler: Dramatic and totally false. The apparent killer is only a stage magician, so that the cards, the knives, the swords and the mysteriously large top hat have a very simple explanation]]. At the end of the tale, everyone (including the criminologist) is laughing.
* [[SillyRabbitRomanceIsForKids Silly Rabbit, Romance Is For Kids!]]: At least, it's not for movie stars on their fifth marriages.
* SilverBullet: In "The Dagger With Wings"
* SpiritualSuccessor: ''Pfarrer Braun''.
* StageMagician: In "The Absence of Mr Glass"
* SuddenSequelHeelSyndrome: Aristide Valentin in "The Secret Garden"
* ThatsWhatIWouldDo
* TheGreatestStoryNeverTold: In "The Sign of the Broken Sword".
* TheReveal: One of the bases of MysteryFiction, of course.
* TheUnfairSex: Provides a blind in "The Oracle of the Dog."
* TheUriahGambit: In [[spoiler:"The Sign of the Broken Sword."]]
* TheyCallMeMisterTibbs: Alluded to in "The Oracle of the Dog" -- "With your Citizen Riquetti you have puzzled Europe for ten days."
* ToKnowHimIMustBecomeHim: Father Brown explains that this is his method for crime-solving in ''The Secret of Father Brown''. (See also ThatsWhatIWouldDo.)
* UnfriendlyFire: The story "[[spoiler:The Sign of the Broken Sword]]"
* TheVicar: Invoked in-story by an impostor in "The Vampire of the Village". Only the Catholic Father Brown sees through him, since "the English know nothing about the Church of England."
* WhamLine: In the third story, "Queer Feet". "I'm a priest, Monsieur [[spoiler:Flambeau]], and I'm ready to hear your confession."
** Also in ''The Blue Cross'' when Valentine believes he has gone on a wild goose chase after two harmless, theology-debating clerics and is ready to creep away:
--> "On plains of opal, under cliffs cut out of pearl, you would still find a notice-board, ''Thou shalt not steal.''"
* WhiteMagic: Invoked, and debunked, in "The Dagger with Wings" -- and re-invoked.
* WhodunnitToMe?: In "The Resurrection of Father Brown."
* WriterOnBoard: Father Brown is a fairly accurate mouthpiece for Chesterton's views.
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