I spent a rainy Easter Saturday in and around Mells in a quiet corner of Somerset. In the churchyard I tracked down the grave of Monsignor Ronald Knox, best known to fans of crime fiction as a member of The Detection Club. He wrote several Golden Age detective novels and collaborated with Agatha Christie, Dorothy L. Sayers and others in three books written collectively by members of the club at the height of their popularity in the 1930s, Behind The Screen, The Floating Admiral and Six Against The Yard.
Perhaps surprisingly he is also familiar to fans of Victorian novelist Anthony Trollope as the author of Barchester Pilgrimage, a continuation of the Barchester Chronicles of that author taking the children and grandchildren of characters from the series on into the following decades.
He is perhaps best remembered in ecclesiastical circles for his translation of the Vulgate Bible from the original Latin.
I don’t know what they would have made of his 1926 BBC radio play Broadcasting From The Barricades, a hoax programme purporting to be live reporting of a revolution taking place in London, which caused minor panic across the UK. The broadcast preceded the General Strike by some four months and anticipated the impact such broadcasts might have which was exploited to the full by Orson Welles in his War of the Worlds radio broadcast of 1938.
I’m sure he would have appreciated the joke.