Knox Essay Trick

Knox Essay Trick-17
‘I may have been a fool,’ he says to himself as he puts the book down, ‘but at least I wasn’t such a doddering fool as poor old Watson.’ X.

‘I may have been a fool,’ he says to himself as he puts the book down, ‘but at least I wasn’t such a doddering fool as poor old Watson.’ X.

The dodge is too easy, and the supposition too improbable.

I would add as a rider, that no criminal should be credited with exceptional powers of disguise unless we have had fair warning that he or she was accustomed to making up for the stage.

In the classroom, she handles heated arguments with a mixture of passion and humor that is extremely contagious.

Ronald Knox (1888-1957) was an English priest who moonlighted as a well-regarded author of detective novels and short stories. Knox’s essay (originally dated February 28, 1929), was later reprinted as “The Detective Story Decalogue” in 1946.

Consequently, although we seldom guess the answer to his riddles, we usually miss the thrill of having suspected the wrong person. Not more than one secret room or passage is allowable.

I would add that a secret passage should not be brought in at all unless the action takes place in the kind of house where such devices might be expected. Why this should be so I do not know, unless we can find a reason for it in our western habit of assuming that the Celestial is over-equipped in the matter of brains, and under-equipped in the matter of morals.

His reputation was such that in 1928, during the Golden Era of Detective Fiction, when a group of British mystery authors gathered to exchange ideas and collaborate, Knox was included in this elite group. According to the Ronald Knox Society of North America, the Decalogue became known as “the as a set of by-laws for the [Detection] club.” Often reprinted in short form, the commandments (also referred to as Rules of Fair Play) are meant to remind authors that the reader deserves a fighting chance to solve the mystery without the author’s use of cheap tricks.

Officially known as The Detection Club, the group formally organized in 1930. Original members included such greats as Agatha Christie, Dorothy Sayers, and first elected president G. While these commandments do not all hold up to today’s standards of political correctness or modern terminology, the essence of these nearly century-old rules remain remarkably salient.

How admirably is this indicated, for example, in Trent’s Last Case!

Detective Fiction in the 21 Century: Have the rules changed?


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