The collection of short stories by G.K. Chesterton. First published in 1905.
Each story in the series is centred on a person who is making a living by some novel or extraordinary means (a “queer trade”, using the word “queer” in the sense of “peculiar”). To gain admittance to the club one must have invented a unique means of earning a living and the subsequent trade being the main source of income
Listeners will no doubt recollect that the series Tales From The Mausoleum Club had a more macabre version of this odd theme.
Dramatised by Simon Littlefield. Produced by Simon Nicholls.
1. The Tremendous Adventures of Major Brown
Retired KC Basil Grant, his brother Rupert and colleague Charlie Swinburne receive a visit from Major Brown at Basil’s garrett in Lambeth. The retired soldier recounts a tale which begins with a most disturbing discovery. While taking his daily constitutional his attention is directed to a marvellous display of yellow pansies that spell out the chilling slogan: “Death to Major Brown”. What follows is possibly the most extraordinary tale of all time.
2. The Painful Fall of a Great Reputation
Retired KC, Basil Grant, his brother Rupert and colleague Charlie Swinburne are travelling on the top deck of a tramcar through the “squalid eternity” of North London.
In the midst of a sea of cadgers, pickpockets and hooligans, Basil spies one Mr Wimpole – who he claims is the wickedest man in England.
At Charlie’s reasonable demands for proof, Basil throws them into a frantic chase across London…
3. The Awful Reason of the Vicar’s Visit
A mystery, especially when that most distressed reverend gentleman begins his tale of a monstrous outrage committed against him.
However, when Basil leaps at the cleric and demands to see him “without his whiskers!”, both Charlie and Rupert believe he has finally taken leave of his peculiar senses… Or is there a method to the vicar’s mad tale that may link him to the Club of Queer Trades…
4. The Singular Speculation of the House Agent
Rupert believes mad military adventurer, Lieutenant Drummond Keith is a rogue, and insists they follow him.
En route they witness a disturbing incident with the lieutenant’s sword-stick and meet a house-agent with a fondness for ferrets. But Keith gives them the slip amidst the trees of Buxton Common.
Charlie and Rupert remain stumped but Basil’s powers of detection reach new heights in their search…
5. The Noticeable Conduct of Professor Chadd
It’s apparent to everyone who calls at the home of the noted ethnologist.
However, his three sisters become alarmed when he suddenly refuses to speak. The sisters waste no time in summoning the Professor’s equally eccentric acquaintance, Basil Grant.
Can Basil save the highly respected Professor from his madness and the wrath of his employers at the British Museum? And just why does Professor Chadd insist on shaking his leg in the manner of a bee?
6. The Eccentric Seclusion of the Old Lady
The cries of the Old Lady distract Rupert and Charlie from a pleasant summer evening spent in the pursuit of a careless milkman.
Her desperate cry of “when shall I get out?” spurs Rupert and Basil to immediate action… and to housebreaking.
When the old lady refuses to leave her subterranean cell, even the great Basil Grant is at a loss to solve this particular London crime…