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Fortysomething, photographer slacker, working in IT, living in Greenwich; failed polymath; drinks and eats too much, reads too little...

The Man Who Knew Too Much

The Man Who Knew Too Much - G.K. Chesterton An interesting collection of short story detective fiction. Very interesting, almost odd. But in a good way. They're short stories, so lighter on character development than a longer work, but you still pick up a pretty opinion on the main character after a couple of the stories. Almost likeable, but maybe with a little bit too much self-indulgent self-pity.

Horne Fisher is a man who knows too much. He wishes he didn't, but he does. And it's a curse. It's a curse because as he solves each case (which he's bound to do because he knows too much) he realises that, again, because he knows too much he knows that he can't bring the criminal to justice. Some will be accidents, some will be covered up, others will be just left unsolved. Each time because Horne Fisher knows, and understands, that to make the crime or the criminal public will bring down governments, cause wars or destabilise countries.

He feels a sense of guilt from his complicity, but because he's part of the system that he's protecting he doesn't have the strength of character to break with the peer pressure he feels and let justice prevail. That he lacks this strength of character only strengthens his sense of guilt.

Luckily, throughout many of the stories, he has a friend. Journalist Harold March - his Dr. Watson. There to document the stories in part, but more importantly to play the outsider and the conscience to Horne Fisher's self-pitying detachment.

The writing is a little dated, but then it was written in 1922. Luckily the style is still very accessible and it does mean that the Kindle version is available for free...