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December 26, 2013

The Thursday Quiz: Know Your Golden Age?

The Golden Age of Detective Fiction reached its apogee between the two world wars, and in 1929 English theologian (and, apparently, amateur pedant) Ronald Knox wrote up a list of Ten Commandments for would-be writers in the genre. For today’s quiz, which of the following is/are not among Knox’s requirements? Extra credit for those who can ID the source(s) of the non-Knoxian rules.

  1. The story may not contain more than one secret room or passage.
  2. A servant must not prove to be the culprit – instead, the villain must be a “decidedly worth-while person.”
  3. The detective himself must not be the culprit.
  4. There must be no love-interest or other distractions from the business of investigating and solving a crime.
  5. The detective’s sidekick (the “Watson”) must be ever so slightly stupider than the average reader
  6. The story must be entirely lacking in Chinamen.


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