Knox Essay Trick

When I introduced one into a book myself, I was careful to point out beforehand that the house had belonged to Catholics in penal times. Milne’s secret passage in the Red House Mystery is hardly fair; if a modern house were so equipped – and it would be villainously expensive – all the countryside would be quite certain to know about it. No hitherto undiscovered poisons may be used, nor any appliance which will need a long scientific explanation at the end. Austin Freeman, have the minor medical blemish; you have to go through a long science lecture at the end of the story in order to understand how clever the mystery was. I only offer it as a fact of observation that, if you are turning over the pages of a book and come across some mention of ‘the slit-like eyes of Chin Loo’, you had best put it down at once; it is bad.There may be undiscovered poisons with quite unexpected reactions on the human system, but they have not been discovered yet, and until they are they must not be utilized in fiction; it is not cricket. The only exception which occurs to my mind – there are probably others – is Lord Ernest Hamilton’s Four Tragedies of Memworth. No accident must ever help the detective, nor must he ever have an unaccountable intuition which proves to be right.

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‘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.

Twin brothers, and doubles generally, must not appear unless we have been duly prepared for them.

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faces a dilemma as a single superpower in a chaotic multipolar world.

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.

Of Christie, James says, “Above all she is a literary conjuror who places her pasteboard characters face downwards and shuffles them with practiced cunning.” While plot and puzzle-solving remain paramount, these flat, hum-drum characters are no longer enough for today’s modern reader.

Thou shalt strive to create a detective who has flaws.

With that said, here are Knox’s Ten Commandments, as written in their original long form.

Bold print indicates the short form of the Decalogue commonly reprinted, too often without attribution. The criminal must be someone mentioned in the early part of the story, but must not be anyone whose thoughts the reader has been allowed to follow.


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