‘Be a Nature Detective’ by Maxwell Knight (1968) – natural history tradecraft from Britain’s greatest spymaster and the original ‘Nature Detective’ courtesy of the BBC

It certainly wasn't appropriate for Maxwell Knight to share his spy training during his Sunday afternoon BBC broadcasts, or was it? Surely not? Perish the thought. But, what if his broadcasts and books contained the same basic training (the same 'tradecraft') he was giving MI5 recruits? As far as Knight was concerned, the two were [...]

We need more naturalists, more 21st Century Nature Detectives

Maxwell Knight was amongst the first - if not the first - to coin the phrase 'nature detective' before the Second World War; however, he would have been the first to admit that his natural history forefathers had literally risked life and limb detecting fauna and flora as skilfully recorded in Richard Conniff's book The Species [...]

Maxwell Knight and snake skins – a new approach to an old challenge

  A Letter to The Editor The Herpetological Bulletin 18th June 2017 Dear Sir I was interested to read the Short Note “Lamination as a method of preserving sloughs” by Steven JR Allain and Mark J Goodman (The Herpetological Bulletin (2016) 138, 29-30). The technique they describe would appear to be an excellent approach to the [...]

Book update: A day’s research in London

John and Margaret Cooper joined Simon King to visit The Linnean Society (Piccadilly) and peruse their Maxwell Knight archive. Then, on to the Natural History Museum (South Kensington) to see The Maxwell Knight Library. In the evening, returning back to The Linnean Society for Founder's Day. Thanks to everyone who helped make the day productive [...]

“Be a Nature Detective”

I  have  in  front  of   me  a  “withdrawn”  library  book  written  by  Maxwell  Knight entitled “Be a Nature Detective” (Frederick Warne & Co 1968). On 24 June 1968 - some five months after the author of the book died - the book was borrowed from Derbyshire County Library for the very first time. I [...]