The Blue Cross Questions and Answers
by G. K. Chesterton

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In "The Blue Cross," list and explain (3) three strategies that Father Brown uses to attract Valentin's attention.

In G.K. Chesterton's story “The Blue Cross,” Father Brown, in the company of the thief Flambeau, leaves all sorts of oddities behind him to attract the attention of the policeman Valentin. He puts salt in a sugar container, throws soup on a wall, switches signs at a fruit-seller's store, knocks over apples, acts drunk, and deliberately breaks a window. In the process, he leads Valentin straight to Flambeau.

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In G.K. Chesteron's story “The Blue Cross,” the clever Father Brown finds himself in the company of Flambeau, the notorious thief, who is disguised as a priest but is bent on stealing the valuable blue cross that Father Brown is carrying to London. Father Brown is aware that he and his companion are being followed by the French policeman Aristide Valentin, and he plants some delightful clues to catch Valentin's attention and help the policeman follow his trail.

Valentin stops for breakfast at a little restaurant and shakes some sugar into his coffee, or at least he thinks it is sugar. Actually, it isn't. It's salt! He questions the waiter, who mentions “two clergymen,” one of whom had also thrown soup all over the wall. Valentin's attention has indeed been caught.

As he leaves the restaurant and glances at the shop in front of him, Valentin notices something else rather odd. The signs on the oranges and nuts in the fruit-seller's bins have been switched around. The fruit-seller is annoyed and all the more so because he has just had to chase several spilled apples knocked over, quite deliberately, by a little priest.

When Valentin questions a policeman about the two clergymen, the officer chuckles and says that one of them surely must be drunk, for he stood in the middle of the road looking all bewildered. Valentin, now with three policemen in tow, hops onto an omnibus and begins to look for more strange things. He finds one at another restaurant, where a window has been broken. He questions the waiter who explains that two parsons had a dispute about their bill. They had actually paid too much as far as the waiter was concerned, yet when he looked at the bill, he noticed that it was indeed made out for fourteen shillings instead of four. One of the parsons, the waiter continues, then broke the window (saying that the extra money would cover the cost of replacing it).

At a nearby confectionery, Valentin learns that one of the clergymen had “accidentally” left a paper-wrapped parcel with instructions to mail it to Westminster if it were found. The shop's proprietor does indeed find it and mails it as requested.

Yes, Father Brown has led Valentin on a long journey through London, leaving a trail of oddities for the policeman to follow until he finally catches up with the two priests and catches Flambeau, who has already been easily identified and out-smarted by the inimitable Father Brown.