In this story Father Brown and several others are trying to decide upon the guilt or innocence of the now dead former jewel thief, commonly known as Michael Moonshine, who to all outward appearances had begun again his life of robberies, that is before he was shot. Father Brown says:
"I knew this dead man very well indeed; I was his confessor and his friend. So far as a man can, I knew his mind when he left that garden to-day; and his mind was like a glass hive full of golden bees. It's an under-statement to say his reformation was sincere. He was one of those great penitents who manage to make more out of penitence then others can out of virtue. I say I was his confessor; but, indeed it was I who went to him for comfort. It did me good to be near so good a man. And when I say him lying there dead in the garden, it seemed to me as if strange words that were said of old were spoken over him aloud in my ear. They might well be; for if ever a man went straight to heaven it might be he."
"Hang it all," said John Bankes restlessly, "after all, he was a convicted thief."
"Yes," said Father Brown; "and only a convicted thief has ever in this world heard that assurance; 'This night shalt thou be with me in paradise.'