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Old 12-15-2008, 11:52 PM   #1
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Chesterton, G K: Four Faultless Felons, v.1, 16 December 2008.

Four Faultless Felons (1930)
By G. K. Chesterton (1874–1936)

Four novellas about four felons. Or not.

From Dale Alquist’s lecture on the book:
‘The tales are lovely little mysteries with a twist in their very set up: the purpose of the puzzle is not to try to figure out who the criminal is, but to figure out why the criminal is not a criminal, and why in fact, there has not even been a crime committed. One man is caught shooting and wounding a government official. Another is caught openly abusing his trust as a doctor. Another is caught with his hands in other people's pockets. And another is caught conspiring against the king.
To add to the drama, in each story there is a woman involved. The element of romance always increases the sense of urgency. The stories are told quickly, and each one plays out perfectly. But as usual, Chesterton has done more than spin some light detective yarns, he has sewn an intricate tapestry with the minimum number of stitches. There is a profound point to these tales. It is revealed in a striking passage from “The Ecstatic Thief.” Millicent Milton has a profound revelation that sums up the whole message of these four unusual gospels. While her hero is on trial for thievery, she realizes that he is not only innocent but unbelievably good. It is the deep dilemma of something that is too good to be true, too good to be believed: “Can't you feel there is something so frightfully and frantically good that it must seem bad?” We are bound to misunderstand such goodness. “A blaze in the sky makes a blot on the eyesight. And after all” the sun was blotted out, because one man was too good to live.”’
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