This is really just six stories, or perhaps more properly, entertainments, loosely linked as a novel. There’s no real plot to talk of, in a novelistic sense, just a concept really, that of a ‘club of queer trades’. To belong to this club you have to make money from an original trade that no else practices or has even thought of.
I’ve only read one other Chesterton novel, The Man Who Was Thursday, which I found to be a million times better than this collection of stories. One thing that does come though in this novel though is Chesterton’s surrealistic imagination. (I’m sure Chesterton must have been a huge influence on film maker Alfred Hitchcock.)
The bonus feature of the book is the enigmatic retired judge and detective Basil Grant, who pretty much holds everything together in these stories.
The Club of Queer Trades is fun holiday reading, but don’t expect much beyond that.