One of those authors who makes it difficult to avoid dragging his own personal views into my opinion of him. Love his writing, find him slightly reactionary and outdated. It’s a conundrum, especially in a book like The Man Who Was Thursday where Chesterton is very clearly is talking about Ideas.
Whereas The Big Sleep was a very practical and earthly mystery, The Man Who Was Thursday is spiritually the opposite, a mystery/suspense novel about metaphysics, ideas, concepts, where nothing is quite as it seems but in a very different way than the human vices and failings of Chandler’s characters.
Gabriel Syme is a secret member of an anti-anarchist section of the London police, and when he gets into a “polite argument” with Lucian Gregory, an obviously anarchistic poet, the latter, in order to prove that he really is an anarchist, drags Syme into a secret meeting of seven men, who all go by the codenames of days of the week–whose mission is to destroy not just the government, but God. I don’t want to ruin much else about the plot, except by saying that nothing is what it seems, and it’s a hilarious and absurd little book.
Even if Chesterton was kind of a jerk.