112 pages, 5½” x 8½”
These stories represent an intermediate stage in the evolution of the Knight brothers in Ralph McInerny’s fiction. In The Noonday Devil, Phil, in his capacity as private detective, was fairly close to the action, but by no means the major character. Roger, his blimpsized brother, entered obliquely into the story but ended by starring in the finale.
Readers liked them, in particular Roger. So McInerny brought them back in Easeful Death, where they are far more central and Roger occupies much space, physically and narratively. And so it might have remained. When McInerny was asked to do a Notre Dame series of mysteries, he decided to bring Roger to South Bend as the Huneker Professor of Catholic Studies, accompanied by the semi-retired Phil, who has the full menu of Notre Dame sports to keep him occupied. Prior to starting the series, McInerny wanted to reacquaint himself with the Knights and hit upon the idea of doing a series of
Knight brothers stories in Crisis, a magazine he founded with Michael Novak. Before moving them to South Bend, he wanted to see them in action, working out of New York, always driving in the specially designed van, never flying, to the cities were their client lived.
Good Knights is the result of putting these eight Knights brothers’ stories together. Call them finger exercises in character. The response to them in the magazine was gratifying, and with them behind him, McInerny launched the Notre Dame series, with On This Rockne in 1996, thirteen years and thirteen novels ago. But the origins of that successful series is seen here.