Chesterton's roller coaster novel
Gilbert Keith Chesterton's career as a storyteller began at a very young age and he subsequently went on to become one the greatest detective writers English literature ever saw. You know how he started off? By telling his aunt his first story!
The writer remained true to the unspoken rule of detective writing that the reader should have an equal chance of finding out who the culprit as much as the sleuth does.
At 6'4'', Chesterton was, supposedly, a formidable figure to look at. But, once he spoke, the dread went away with the quick-witted words that gushed out of his mouth.
To call him just a witty speaker is a disservice to the man who as a theologian, journalist and literary critic, gave the world the most sympathetic detective — Father Brown. G.K. Chesterton was born on May 29, 1874 in London and completed his education from the University College there.
He married Frances Blogg in 1901. He was writing a weekly column for the Daily News when he was given a column at The Illustrated London News , which he went on to do for 30 years. From 1932 till his death, Chesterton also gave radio talks at the BBC, which took an intimate character under him.
He wrote about 80 books, several hundred poems, 200 short stories and several plays. Critics have hailed The Man who was Thursday as his best book. Let's find out more about this book!
A multifaceted thriller
The story, which is often referred to as a metaphysical thriller, is set in Edwardian London. Gabriel Syme has been recently recruited at Scotland Yard to a secret anti-anarchist police force. Syme meets Lucian Gregory, who is an anarchist poet, and they discuss poetry.
They argue over the purpose of poetry and Gregory asserts that the most poetical creation ever is the timetable of London Underground.
Syme suggests that Gregory isn't serious about anarchism, which upsets him. Gregory, to prove himself a serious anarchist, takes Syme to an underground anarchist meeting. He also presents himself as an influential member of a European anarchist council.
The curious part about this council is that there are seven men and each of them are referred to using the name of a day. The head of the council is Thursday. Gregroy plans to be elected to the post, but his speech goes wrong after Syme tells him that he is a police officer. Syme presents the council with a commendable speech and gets elected to become Thursday. Syme is then sent to the central council as the chapter's delegate.
There he tries to thwart the council and bring them down. But Syme is in for a shock as he realises that each member is actually a detective, employed to bring down the council. They realise that it was a master plan by Sunday, the president!
Sunday is then unmasked to the horror of the rest of the council. But, he turns out to be a force of good. He is also unable to tell them why he caused trouble and pain. There is much more to go and we won't reveal everything here. You know what to do!