The Man Who Knew Too Much (book review)

The Man Who Knew Too MuchRegular readers of this blog have probably noticed that I don’t read very much fiction. Partly this is because I have so much to read that I need to keep strict requirements on my reading list, and partly because many fictional works are so much mental cotton candy. By that I mean it’s sweet for the moment, but it’s quickly gone. But there are exceptions, and The Man Who Knew Too Much by G.K. Chesterton is a notable exception.

Chesterton is usually known for his non-fiction theological writings. But the wit, insight, wisdom and humor he uses in his non-fiction work is also on full display in this book, which chronicles the observation skills of Mr. Horne Fisher.

Fisher is the man who knows too much. Because he knows too much, he solves mysteries and riddles “backwards” from the way a typical detective would. Although Fisher is not a detective, but just a man who is well-known and well-connected, he seems to stumble upon the most bizarre settings. Fisher knows too much, so he spots what’s missing, and then works “backwards” to unravel the conundrum. It’s quite fascinating to watch him at work, and Chesterton’s insights into the human spirit make his characters very engaging.

These are not your typical detective stories, but the uniqueness of Horne Fisher’s crime-solving technique makes The Man Who Knew Too Much an enjoyable and enlightening book.

I typically share some of my favorite quotes from the books I review, but in this case I have included some of the wittier lines and descriptions that Chesterton employs. Check it out in the comment below….

Thursdays With Oswald—Stair-step Growth

This is a weekly series with things I’m reading and pondering from Oswald Chambers. You can read the original seed thought here, or type “Thursdays With Oswald” in the search box to read more entries.

Oswald ChambersStair-step Growth

     There are stages in spiritual development when God allows us to be dull, times when we cannot realize or feel anything. It is one of the greatest mercies that we have those blank spaces, for this reason, that if we go on with spiritual perception too quickly we have no time to work it out; and if we have no time to work it out it will react in stagnation and degeneration. 

From Bringing Sons Unto Glory

Many people mistakenly think that their growth in spiritual maturity should be a steady, unbroken climb. They think that the line on the “spiritual growth graph” should always move upward and to the right. This is not only an inaccurate view, but an unhealthy view as well. It simply isn’t possible.

In reality, our growth looks more like a staircase. There are times of growth, times of relapse, and times of plateau. Growth and relapse we usually understand, but many of us have a hard time with the “blank spaces” when we don’t feel anything going on one way or the other. But God purposely gives us these flat times.

I’ve learned that these God-given plateaus are for two things: (1) assimilating what we have learned, or (2) preparing for the next upward climb.

So don’t get frustrated by the plateaus for they are, as Chambers say, one of the greatest mercies God gives us.

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