"Father Brown said something like I caught him (the thief) with an unseen hook and an invisible line which is long enough to let him wander to the ends of the world and still to bring him back with a twitch upon the thread."
An edition of 'Brideshead Revisited'
Creative Commons AttributionAn edition of 'Brideshead Revisited' - Credit: CHRIS DRUMM, Flickr

 Father Brown is a character in a series of short stories by G.K. Chesterton.

This particular quotation comes from a story entitled The Queer Feet.

Full text of the story

On the dust jacket of the original 1944 edition of Brideshead Revisited, Evelyn Waugh described the purpose of the novel as nothing less than an attempt to trace the working of a Divine Purpose in a pagan world. In his prologue to a revised version, published in 1960, he described the theme of Brideshead Revisited as the operation of divine grace on a group of diverse but closely connected characters. The quotation from Queer Feet, therefore, may be seen as encapsulating the central theme of the novel: Waugh's belief in God's inestimable power to instigate, and restore, faith; thus offering salvation to sinners.