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Knox, Ronald

Page history last edited by Jon 10 years, 3 months ago

 Ronald Knox

Ronald Arbuthnott Knox (1888-1957) was a British cleric. He was born in Knibworth, Leicestershire, the son of the Bishop of Manchester, and was the brother of the writer EV Knox. He was educated at Eton and Oxford, and worked in Military Intelligence during WW1. He was ordained into the Anglican church in 1911 and converted to Roman Catholicism in 1917, being re-ordained as a Catholic priest soon after. Knox achieved many academic prizes and honours. He lectured and acted as Catholic chaplain to Oxford University until 1939, when he retired to translate the Bible. He wrote many other books on religion and other topics.

 

As well as his stories featuring Miles Bredon, Knox formulated ten commandments for detective fiction and edited several anthologies.

 

The Sleuth Complex by Ronald Knox

Ronald Knox's Ten Commandments for Detective Fiction

 

An appreciation of Knox and his series sleuth Miles Bredon can be found here.

 

Mike Grost on Ronald Knox

 

Father Knox' short tales show the same logic as his longer works, but without the overelaboration and unbelievability of a novel like The Footsteps at the Lock (1928).

 

One wishes Knox wrote more short stories. "Solved by Inspection" involves his insurance detective, Miles Bredon. (Later, Dorothy L. Sayers will give Lord Peter Wimsey the middle name Bredon, and set him to work undercover as Mr. Bredon in Murder Must Advertise, perhaps in homage to Knox.) Although apparently written years apart, the murder methods in "Solved By Inspection" and "The Motive" (1937) are related. Both of these tales are real classics of the form. His late Sherlock Holmes pastiche, "The Adventure of the First Class Carriage" (1947) is charming, but less personal in its plotting than the other two tales. It shows Knox's faithfulness to the tradition of "the breakdown of identity" right into the late 1940's. It also contains some of Knox's evocative descriptive writing. Knox was reportedly banned from writing more detective stories by his superiors in the Church hierarchy. It seems amazing today that Knox's G-rated, innocuous, highly intellectual writings could ever be considered offensive, but the mere fact that they were detective stories apparently caused them to be regarded as a shameful frivolity.

 

Bibliography

The Viaduct Murder (1925)

The Three Taps: a detective story without a moral (1927)

The Footsteps at the Lock (1928)

The Floating Admiral with the Detection Club

The Body in the Silo (1934) aka Settled Out of Court

Still Dead (1934)

Six Against the Yard with the Detection Club

Double Cross Purposes (1937)

 

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