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The Red House Mystery

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The creator of such beloved storybook characters for children as Winnie-the-Pooh, Piglet, and Eeyore, A. A. Milne was also the author of numerous dramas, essays, and novels for adults — among them, this droll and finely crafted whodunit. In it, Milne takes readers to the Red House, a comfortable residence in the placid English countryside that is the bachelor home of The creator of such beloved storybook characters for children as Winnie-the-Pooh, Piglet, and Eeyore, A. A. Milne was also the author of numerous dramas, essays, and novels for adults — among them, this droll and finely crafted whodunit. In it, Milne takes readers to the Red House, a comfortable residence in the placid English countryside that is the bachelor home of Mr. Mark Ablett. While visiting this cozy retreat, amateur detective Anthony Gillingham and his chum, Bill Beverley, investigate their genial host's disappearance and its connection with a mysterious shooting. Was the victim, whose body was found after a heated exchange with the host, shot in an act of self-defense? If so, why did the host flee, and if not, what drove him to murder? Between games of billiards and bowls, the taking of tea, and other genteel pursuits, Gillingham and Beverley explore the possibilities in a light-hearted series of capers involving secret passageways, underwater evidence, and other atmospheric devices. Sparkling with witty dialogue, deft plotting, and an intriguing cast of characters, this rare gem will charm mystery lovers, Anglophiles, and general readers alike. Running Time: 6:55:46


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The creator of such beloved storybook characters for children as Winnie-the-Pooh, Piglet, and Eeyore, A. A. Milne was also the author of numerous dramas, essays, and novels for adults — among them, this droll and finely crafted whodunit. In it, Milne takes readers to the Red House, a comfortable residence in the placid English countryside that is the bachelor home of The creator of such beloved storybook characters for children as Winnie-the-Pooh, Piglet, and Eeyore, A. A. Milne was also the author of numerous dramas, essays, and novels for adults — among them, this droll and finely crafted whodunit. In it, Milne takes readers to the Red House, a comfortable residence in the placid English countryside that is the bachelor home of Mr. Mark Ablett. While visiting this cozy retreat, amateur detective Anthony Gillingham and his chum, Bill Beverley, investigate their genial host's disappearance and its connection with a mysterious shooting. Was the victim, whose body was found after a heated exchange with the host, shot in an act of self-defense? If so, why did the host flee, and if not, what drove him to murder? Between games of billiards and bowls, the taking of tea, and other genteel pursuits, Gillingham and Beverley explore the possibilities in a light-hearted series of capers involving secret passageways, underwater evidence, and other atmospheric devices. Sparkling with witty dialogue, deft plotting, and an intriguing cast of characters, this rare gem will charm mystery lovers, Anglophiles, and general readers alike. Running Time: 6:55:46

30 review for The Red House Mystery

  1. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie

    How I love this mystery! It's terribly, terribly English and Edwardian, a la Agatha Christie's best, and bursting with delicious humor. Goes to show that A.A. Milne wasn't a one-trick pony. Like E.B. White, he could write great stories for adults as well as children. I don't think the edition pictured includes this wonderful dedication page that appears in mine: "To John Vine Milne: My Dear Father, Like all really nice people, you have a weakness How I love this mystery! It's terribly, terribly English and Edwardian, a la Agatha Christie's best, and bursting with delicious humor. Goes to show that A.A. Milne wasn't a one-trick pony. Like E.B. White, he could write great stories for adults as well as children. I don't think the edition pictured includes this wonderful dedication page that appears in mine: "To John Vine Milne: My Dear Father, Like all really nice people, you have a weakness for detective stories, and feel that there are not enough of them. So after all that you have done for me, the least that I can do for you is to write you one. Here it is: with more gratitude and affection than I can well put down here. A.A.M." If you're a really nice person who has a weakness for detective stories, give The Red House Mystery a whirl. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Carol She's So Novel꧁꧂

    Even though I was on a very action packed holiday, I still think the length of time it took me to read this novel shows I wasn't totally engaged by it. I've read the comments on the Reading the Detectives Group https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/... & I think their suggestion that this was written as a parody was a good one. I was a bit obtuse on this, as I read it "straight." Reading it with my sense of humour switched off, I found it long winded, far too many characters early on & I guessed the murderer & (v Even though I was on a very action packed holiday, I still think the length of time it took me to read this novel shows I wasn't totally engaged by it. I've read the comments on the Reading the Detectives Group https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/... & I think their suggestion that this was written as a parody was a good one. I was a bit obtuse on this, as I read it "straight." Reading it with my sense of humour switched off, I found it long winded, far too many characters early on & I guessed the murderer & (view spoiler)[the victim (hide spoiler)] very quickly. What I did like was the relationship between this book's Holmes & Watson. The dialogue between Anthony & Bill was quite wonderful & I certainly wouldn't have minded reading another of their adventures.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    A A Milne wrote a little remembered mystery book before he delved into the 100 Acre Wood and created one of the most beloved classic characters in fiction - Winnie the Pooh. The mystery is set during a country house party, in 1922. Our amateur sleuth arrives to visit a friend, to find someone hammering on the door and a body within. Asked to help, he decides to play Sherlock Holmes, with his friend acting as his Watson. The host has gone missing and his ne'er do well brother, who had just return A A Milne wrote a little remembered mystery book before he delved into the 100 Acre Wood and created one of the most beloved classic characters in fiction - Winnie the Pooh. The mystery is set during a country house party, in 1922. Our amateur sleuth arrives to visit a friend, to find someone hammering on the door and a body within. Asked to help, he decides to play Sherlock Holmes, with his friend acting as his Watson. The host has gone missing and his ne'er do well brother, who had just returned from Australia, is lying dead. This is a charming book, much better than I thought it would be. My only complaint is that I worked out who the murderer was fairly quickly. The whole book is a little tongue in cheek, almost as though Milne were merely trying out the genre as a writing exercise. However, saying that, it is a very enjoyable read and comparable with other mystery books written at the time. Had Milne decided to carry the books into a series, I think he could have been very successful. However, he obviously went on to other things, so it is lucky that we do have this book to sample what he could produce as a crime writer.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Kim

    AA Milne wrote this novel - his only foray into the murder mystery genre - in 1922, during the period he worked as a columnist for Punch magazine and before the Winnie-the-Pooh books were published. It's a pleasant read, with an attractive amateur sleuth hero and an entertaining if slightly dim sidekick. Much more of a why-and-howdunnit than a whodunnit (the culprit is reasonably obvious early on), the charm of the work is more in the witty prose and the clever allusions to Sherlock Holmes and Dr Wat AA Milne wrote this novel - his only foray into the murder mystery genre - in 1922, during the period he worked as a columnist for Punch magazine and before the Winnie-the-Pooh books were published. It's a pleasant read, with an attractive amateur sleuth hero and an entertaining if slightly dim sidekick. Much more of a why-and-howdunnit than a whodunnit (the culprit is reasonably obvious early on), the charm of the work is more in the witty prose and the clever allusions to Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson than in the mystery itself. Had it not been for the way in which the mystery is resolved, I would have been tempted to give this an extra 1/2 star. However, I have a (probably quite unreasonable) aversion to the lengthy-and-discursive-confession-by-the-culprit device. When I come across it - in this case it takes the form of a letter written by the culprit to the sleuth - it makes me a bit crazy. I'm not sure that the adventures of Anthony (amateur sleuth) and Bill (sidekick) could have been spun into a series. In reality, probably not. Still, I'm glad that Milne had a go at the genre and I'm glad I read his effort. This was a quick and easy read and fun to share with my friend Jemidar and others in the English Mysteries Club.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Dawn Michelle

    WHAT a delightful book!! I really, really enjoyed this little mystery by A.A. Milne. I had no idea he had written anything besides Winnie-the-Pooh and was excited when this was picked for our book club! An interesting mystery, dead bodies, intrigue and quirky characters make for a lovely read and keeps you guessing over and over [though I had most of it figured out by the end - that is the problem when you read a ton of mysteries every year; it didn't take away from the pure joy of r WHAT a delightful book!! I really, really enjoyed this little mystery by A.A. Milne. I had no idea he had written anything besides Winnie-the-Pooh and was excited when this was picked for our book club! An interesting mystery, dead bodies, intrigue and quirky characters make for a lovely read and keeps you guessing over and over [though I had most of it figured out by the end - that is the problem when you read a ton of mysteries every year; it didn't take away from the pure joy of reading this] until the end. So glad that I got to read this and I would recommend it to anyone who likes a good mystery!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Tracey

    Long long ago, not so very far away, I read this, completely delighted by the fact that the creator of Winnie-the-Pooh wrote a murder mystery. I loved it then, and so was happy when The Red House Mystery was chosen as a book of the month for the Goodreads English Mysteries Club. Unfortunately, I didn't love the reread so much. The writing was fun, with occasional Pooh-ish moments – "Perhaps it was true that inspectors liked dragging ponds, but the question was, Did Cayleys like having them dragged?" Long long ago, not so very far away, I read this, completely delighted by the fact that the creator of Winnie-the-Pooh wrote a murder mystery. I loved it then, and so was happy when The Red House Mystery was chosen as a book of the month for the Goodreads English Mysteries Club. Unfortunately, I didn't love the reread so much. The writing was fun, with occasional Pooh-ish moments – "Perhaps it was true that inspectors liked dragging ponds, but the question was, Did Cayleys like having them dragged?" - But there were a great many moments that stopped me cold, thinking Sorry, what was that now? The latitude the amateur detective is given is a figment of the mystery writer's imagination; the ineptitude of the constabulary in their failure to make certain surely routine checks and confirmations was absurd; parts of the mystery itself were more than a little silly. But still. As a light and undemanding read it was enjoyable. In fact, it rather has to be read as undemanding, the sort of thing you just settle in with a cup of tea and enjoy without questioning. If you think about it too much it all falls apart.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Debbie Zapata

    In my ignorance I never knew that Milne had written anything except the Pooh books. So when I found this title as well as some plays at Gutenberg, I was eager to see what his other work was like. I was not disappointed in this locked room mystery: it was fun to read: the amateur detective Antony Gillingham and his friend Bill Beverley were quite clever and the solution all made sense, even if I could not work it out myself. I never seem to be able to in this type of mystery story, even when I am In my ignorance I never knew that Milne had written anything except the Pooh books. So when I found this title as well as some plays at Gutenberg, I was eager to see what his other work was like. I was not disappointed in this locked room mystery: it was fun to read: the amateur detective Antony Gillingham and his friend Bill Beverley were quite clever and the solution all made sense, even if I could not work it out myself. I never seem to be able to in this type of mystery story, even when I am getting the exact same clues....that is why I would be Bill and not Antony, I suppose. Besides, here is what Bill says at one point in the story: "I say, what fun! I love secret passages. Good Lord, and this afternoon I was playing golf just like an ordinary merchant! What a life! Secret passages!" Yep, I definitely want to be Bill when I grow up.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Jane

    Where I got the book: free public domain download on the Kindle. A rather coy little country-house murder mystery set just after World War I, and yet the war is never mentioned. Which sets the tone: a little bit of escapist fantasy, Winnie-the-Pooh's creator's try at a genre that took off like a rocket in the between-wars period, providing an intellectual puzzle to distract the reader from the fact that their world was up sh*t creek without a paddle. And a very self-conscio Where I got the book: free public domain download on the Kindle. A rather coy little country-house murder mystery set just after World War I, and yet the war is never mentioned. Which sets the tone: a little bit of escapist fantasy, Winnie-the-Pooh's creator's try at a genre that took off like a rocket in the between-wars period, providing an intellectual puzzle to distract the reader from the fact that their world was up sh*t creek without a paddle. And a very self-conscious stab at the genre at that: Antony, the detective, makes it clear that we're moving around inside a novel with pronouncements such as "I oughtn't to explain till the last chapter." He sees himself as Holmes and his pal Bill as Watson; hilariously the two are always walking around arm-in-arm, which makes the modern reader put an unintended slant on their relationship. Those were simpler times. I found the story quite entertaining but ground my teeth when Milne fell back on the murderer's confession in the form of a letter. That. Is. Cheating. No wonder Antony found the exercise so delightfully easy. He didn't actually do the work. And there were other ways in which Milne made things too easy, such as eliminating most of the possible suspects (including all the women, so that there wouldn't be any love interest) by sending them away early in the story. I don't suppose I'm the only reader who figured out whodunnit very early on. But still, it's worth reading as a fun snapshot of a time and a genre. The novel was a success and Milne's agent wanted him to write more but he refused, preferring to exploit his only child write the famous Pooh novels. Perhaps even a mystery novel came too close to real life for a man who'd had a "debilitating illness" during the War, for which I read shell shock or what would now be called PTSD. I'm sure it's way more complicated than that, but writers lay themselves open to analysis by amateurs and I stand on my rights.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Patrick Sherriff

    It may be that this story was spoiled for me by Raymond Chandler who in his 1944 essay, The Simple Art of Murder, (my review here: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...) ripped The Red House Mystery to shreds. Still, I found that all Chandler's barbs were on target: Milne had written a mystery in which the only interest was to solve the crime as a logic puzzle, after all, the characters were uninteresting and unsympathetic, the whodunnit puzzle element was all that was left. But here, the problem was that logically speaking, the cri It may be that this story was spoiled for me by Raymond Chandler who in his 1944 essay, The Simple Art of Murder, (my review here: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...) ripped The Red House Mystery to shreds. Still, I found that all Chandler's barbs were on target: Milne had written a mystery in which the only interest was to solve the crime as a logic puzzle, after all, the characters were uninteresting and unsympathetic, the whodunnit puzzle element was all that was left. But here, the problem was that logically speaking, the crime was nonsensical and would have been solved in an instant if the police had followed normal police procedures. Winnie the Pooh was sublime. This was just silly. Download my starter library for free here - http://eepurl.com/bFkt0X - and receive my monthly newsletter with book recommendations galore for the Japanophile, crime-fiction-lover in all of us.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Jean Menzies

    Such a shame there aren't more of these fantastic mysteries.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    I've heard this is supposed to be a spoof but I didn't see it. However as a period mystery it was completely charming. It didn't take itself seriously and that made it completely delightful to read.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Hákon Gunnarsson

    A.A. Milne is best remembered for his Winnie the Pooh, but he wrote a lot of other things, like this mystery. It didn’t go out of print for years after it initial publication, and in a way I can see why. It is a fun book. What it is not though, is a suspenseful novel. It is never much of a mystery who comitted the murder, it’s just a question of why he did, and that is resolved satisfactorily at the end. The tone of the book is light. Milne was working for the humor magazine Punch at the time of A.A. Milne is best remembered for his Winnie the Pooh, but he wrote a lot of other things, like this mystery. It didn’t go out of print for years after it initial publication, and in a way I can see why. It is a fun book. What it is not though, is a suspenseful novel. It is never much of a mystery who comitted the murder, it’s just a question of why he did, and that is resolved satisfactorily at the end. The tone of the book is light. Milne was working for the humor magazine Punch at the time of writing this book, and it shows. It is in many ways closer to Wodehouse, than Christie, even though it is a mystery. So I enjoyed the read. I wouldn’t put this among the best of the genre, but I enjoyed it just the same. The reader did a good job, except for one thing. You kind of get the feeling that the main characters are teenagers, but they are not.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Cynthia

    Who knew that Mr. Pooh wrote murder mysteries? Not me. It was surprisingly good.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Tony

    The so-called "Golden Age of Detective Fiction" was a largely British phenomenon that took place in the 1920s and 1930s and its masters are among the most well-known names in the mystery genre (Agatha Christie, Dorothy Sayers, Ngaio Marsh, etc.). The stories of this time had a number of conventions (which they did not invent, but certainly popularized), and they were so prevalent that several essays were written codifying them. These will be familiar to anyone with a passing familiarity with old The so-called "Golden Age of Detective Fiction" was a largely British phenomenon that took place in the 1920s and 1930s and its masters are among the most well-known names in the mystery genre (Agatha Christie, Dorothy Sayers, Ngaio Marsh, etc.). The stories of this time had a number of conventions (which they did not invent, but certainly popularized), and they were so prevalent that several essays were written codifying them. These will be familiar to anyone with a passing familiarity with older mysteries: the amateur detective, the country house, a murder, a cast of suspects staying at the house, all clues revealed to the reader and sleuth at the same time, hints of romance, etc. Apparently, the man who later gave the world "Winnie the Pooh" was interested enough in the detective genre that he decided to have a stab at it himself. The resulting book, which, while anemically titled, has to be considered a very entertaining example of the "Golden Age" novel. The protagonist is Andrew Gillingham, a young man receiving a fine inheritance who, rather than gadding about (a la Bertie Wooster), finds it interesting to try out different professions for a year or so. One day, while out in the country, he realizes that a good friend is a guest a nearby manor house. He heads out for a brisk walk to pay a surprise call on his friend, only to stumble into the immediate aftermath of a murder (in the office, with a revolver). It doesn't take long for him to realize that instead of being a supporting player in the police investigation, he can, instead, try out a new profession -- that of detective. And so the game is afoot, as the sharp young man uses his powers of logic and deduction to try and reason out the murder (with the typically plodding help of his sidekick friend). If you've read many of these kinds of stories, you'll probably be able to figure it out reasonably easily (although I didn't), but the real charm of the book is in the light, witty prose, which carries the reader along effortlessly. It's a style likely to appeal to fans of P.G. Wodehouse, though obviously not as farcical as that. It's well worth reading if you've got a taste for the world of Britain between the wars. Had Milne not made his fortune with Pooh Bear, this book demonstrates that he certainly could have done well as a mystery writer and he did write several other mystery plays and stories, just not novels. The real mystery is why this particular novel has never been made into a film!

  15. 4 out of 5

    Carol

    An English-mystery-loving group on Goodreads picked this as their October book to read, so I was happy to give it a go. I had great sentimental hopes for it, as it's written by the author of Winnie the Pooh. Alas, it fell far short of my expectations. The book is a locked-room type mystery, in which a body is discovered in the office of a wealthy country gentleman's house. There are houseguests and neighbors to make things interesting, and the victim is the ne'er-d-owell brother of the house own An English-mystery-loving group on Goodreads picked this as their October book to read, so I was happy to give it a go. I had great sentimental hopes for it, as it's written by the author of Winnie the Pooh. Alas, it fell far short of my expectations. The book is a locked-room type mystery, in which a body is discovered in the office of a wealthy country gentleman's house. There are houseguests and neighbors to make things interesting, and the victim is the ne'er-d-owell brother of the house owner (the "Red House" of the title). I really had to push to finish this one. The characters were flat, the pacing was slow and way too much of the book consisted of lengthy conversations droning on about various theories of the crime propounded by the amateur detectives. Overall, a big MEH.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Ron

    “He wanted an audience, even for his vices!” Red House is not so much a murder mystery as a who-dun-it-of-manners. Published in 1922 (before Milne’s famous children’s books), it owes as much as a debt to P. G. Wodehouse as Arthur Conan Doyle. Not bad writing, not good either. Milne would eventually find his measure in the hundred-acre wood. “It’s very hampering being a detective, when you don’t know anything about detecting, and when nobody knows that you’re doing detecting “He wanted an audience, even for his vices!” Red House is not so much a murder mystery as a who-dun-it-of-manners. Published in 1922 (before Milne’s famous children’s books), it owes as much as a debt to P. G. Wodehouse as Arthur Conan Doyle. Not bad writing, not good either. Milne would eventually find his measure in the hundred-acre wood. “It’s very hampering being a detective, when you don’t know anything about detecting, and when nobody knows that you’re doing detecting, and you can’t have people up to cross-examine them, and you have neither the energy nor the means to make proper inquiries; and, in short, when you’re doing the whole thing in a thoroughly amateur, haphazard way.” The story itself revolves around a young man deciding to solve a crime by consciously, and superficially, employing the technique of Sherlock Holmes. (Milne played cricket with Doyle.) That he makes many wrong guesses increases the fun. The perceptive reader suspects the real culprit and crime long before the amateur sleuths. “We knew their answer was wrong, and we had to think at another.” Quibble: the labeling of dialogue is so confusing that the reader is repeatedly forced to stop and puzzle it out. “There is no point looking for a difficult solution to a problem, when the easy solution has no flaw in it.” “Silly old ass” mimics the rhythm of a similar phrase of Christopher Robin. “It’s a question of your instinct instead of your reason.”

  17. 5 out of 5

    The Bookish Hooker

    Never has there been such an enjoyable mystery-solving duo than Antony and Bill. Just the comic repartee between these two is enough of an incentive to read this classic locked door mystery. They lend a quality of lightheartedness to the story and make it all worth while. The other characters are almost unimportant compared to the pair of friends. The 1920’s country house setting is a classic mystery trope that works well here. It’s well described and is easily pictured in the minds o Never has there been such an enjoyable mystery-solving duo than Antony and Bill. Just the comic repartee between these two is enough of an incentive to read this classic locked door mystery. They lend a quality of lightheartedness to the story and make it all worth while. The other characters are almost unimportant compared to the pair of friends. The 1920’s country house setting is a classic mystery trope that works well here. It’s well described and is easily pictured in the minds of the reader. The accompanying village scenes are equally charming and make this murder mystery quite cozy. The overall plot of the novel is simplistic, but remains intriguing. It’s a locked door mystery, which isn’t seen very often in modern books, but is well done in this classic. The cast of characters isn’t large, so that narrows down the list of possible suspects. Usually that would lead to the perpetrator being easily figured out, but I think the twists and turns of this book keep the reader in suspense until the end. Overall, I’d say this is a fantastic vintage mystery novel that deserves a little more love than it gets.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Leah

    Pleasingly devious... When Antony Gillingham receives a letter from his old friend, Bill Beverly, saying that Bill is currently visiting at Red House, Antony decides to pop along since he’s in the neighbourhood. But he arrives just as a shot has been fired, to find one of the house’s resident, Cayley, banging frantically on the locked living-room door. Two men had entered the room – the house’s owner Mark Ablett, and his brother, Robert, a ne’er-do-well just returned from Australia. Now Robert lie Pleasingly devious... When Antony Gillingham receives a letter from his old friend, Bill Beverly, saying that Bill is currently visiting at Red House, Antony decides to pop along since he’s in the neighbourhood. But he arrives just as a shot has been fired, to find one of the house’s resident, Cayley, banging frantically on the locked living-room door. Two men had entered the room – the house’s owner Mark Ablett, and his brother, Robert, a ne’er-do-well just returned from Australia. Now Robert lies dead on the living-room floor, and Mark has disappeared... “Of course it’s very hampering being a detective, when you don’t know anything about detecting, and when nobody knows that you’re doing detection, and you can’t have people up to cross-examine them, and you have neither the energy nor the means to make proper enquiries; and, in short, when you’re doing the whole thing in a thoroughly amateur, haphazard way.” Well, this was a lot of fun! It’s very well written, with lots of humour and two very likeable protagonists in Antony and Bill. Antony is a man of means but with an interest in human nature. So rather than living the life of the idle rich, he has worked in a variety of roles, from shop-keeping to waiting. Now he decides to try his hand at amateur detection. He’s helped by having the ability to record anything he observes with his subconscious mind and then to retrieve those observations later at will. Bill is a pleasant young man, not unintelligent but without his friend’s perceptiveness. He proves to be a loyal and faithful sidekick, though, who cheerfully plays Watson to Antony’s Holmes – Milne openly and affectionately uses Holmes and Watson as a running joke between his two amateur ‘tecs. “Are you prepared to be the complete Watson?” he asked. “Watson?” “Do-you-follow-me-Watson; that one. Are you prepared to have quite obvious things explained to you, to ask futile questions, to give me chances of scoring off you, to make brilliant discoveries of your own two or three days after I have made them myself – all that kind of thing? Because it all helps.” “My dear Tony,” said Bill delightedly, “need you ask?” The plot is in the nature of a locked room mystery, though not in terms of how anyone could have got in or out. The mystery is in working out what happened inside the room and why Mark has apparently run off. There is (of course) a house party at the time of the murder, so that there are plenty of people to be witnesses and/or suspects. Cayley, the man who was banging on the door as Antony arrived, is Mark Ablett’s young cousin, whose education Mark had paid for. Cayley now lives with him and fulfills the functions of a secretary and general man of business for Mark. No-one really knows what it is that the victim Robert did all those years ago that resulted in him being sent off to Australia to avoid scandal, nor why he has suddenly returned. There are a couple of young women to provide love interests or possibly motives. The domestic staff add to the humour, with Milne showing just a touch of golden age snobbery but not enough to spoil the fun. And secret tunnels! Really every book should have secret tunnels, I think, don’t you? “It isn’t everybody’s colour,” said Audrey, holding the hat out at arm’s length, and regarding it thoughtfully. “Stylish, isn’t it?” “Oh, it’ll suit you all right, and it would have suited me at your age. A bit too dressy for me now, though wearing better than some other people, I daresay. I was never one to pretend to be what I wasn’t. If I’m fifty-five, I’m fifty-five – that’s what I say.” “Fifty-eight, isn’t it, auntie?” “I was just giving that as an example,” said Mrs. Stevens with great dignity. Antony uses his knowledge of human nature and his observational skills to spot little inconsistencies in the stories of the other occupants of the house to gradually uncover the truth. It’s very well plotted – I did have a kind of idea of part of the how of it all, but was nicely baffled by the why. And I loved Antony and Bill as a team. My only disappointment is that Milne never wrote another mystery novel – I feel they’d have made the basis of a great detective duo series. But at least we have this book. Highly recommended for the next time you want something that’s well written, pleasingly devious, and above all, entertaining! www.fictionfanblog.wordpress.com

  19. 5 out of 5

    Shalini Nemo

    Predictable, but fun.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Nola Arganbright

    Quite a puzzle The book at times was very discombobulated but I enjoyed its quirky characters and round about way of solving the mystery.

  21. 5 out of 5

    DeAnna Knippling

    An English country-house mystery in the classic mode, a la Agatha Christie. Nicely done, with decent charactwrs, setting, and plot twist. Not a game-changer, but a good plot twist I hadn't seen before. An enjoyable put-your-feet-up page turner. Recommended for cozy mystery fans.

  22. 5 out of 5

    C-shaw

    This is a good, old-fashioned English manorhouse mystery.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Nancy Oakes

    3.5 stars My copy of this book is so old it's not even listed here; it's published by Methuen, the 14th edition that I found in a little antique/book store near my house and paid a dollar for. The Red House Mystery is not a bad read -- neither is it, as Milne says in his introduction, "very nearly the ideal detective story." It's a country-house, locked-room sort of story, with lots of red herrings, two amateurs playing at Holmes and Watson and an ending that I sort of guessed but not really. It 3.5 stars My copy of this book is so old it's not even listed here; it's published by Methuen, the 14th edition that I found in a little antique/book store near my house and paid a dollar for. The Red House Mystery is not a bad read -- neither is it, as Milne says in his introduction, "very nearly the ideal detective story." It's a country-house, locked-room sort of story, with lots of red herrings, two amateurs playing at Holmes and Watson and an ending that I sort of guessed but not really. It's also one of those books where you have to make yourself get through the first few chapters, but after that you'll encounter pretty smooth sailing the rest of the way. Antony (Tony) Gillingham, the less important son of a privileged family, came into an inheritance at 21, and decided to see the world -- through its people. Now at age 30, he has decided to go and visit a friend, Bill Beverley, whom he met earlier while working at a tobacconist's shop. Bill, it seems, is a guest at a house party at Mark Ablett's Red House, and Antony decides to go and see him. As it turns out, he arrives just in time for a murder -- that of Robert Ablett, Mark's "wastrel" brother from Australia who had just recently arrived. Everyone else is asked to leave; Bill and Antony stay on at the house until the inquest with Mark's cousin and protégé Matthew Cayley. Having time on his hands, and "wanting a new profession," Antony decides that becoming a "private sleuthhound," and "being Sherlocky" are just the ticket, and tags Bill as his ever-faithful Watson. Anthony's already got the murderer pegged, but how he/she did it is another question altogether. While Bill sees it as a Sherlockian lark, Tony sometimes finds the going tough: "Of course, it's very hampering being a detective, when you don't know anything about detecting, and when nobody knows that you're doing detection, and you can't have people up to cross-examine them, and you have neither the energy nor the means to make proper inquiries; and, in short, when you're doing the whole thing in a thoroughly amateur, haphazard way." Now here, refreshingly, is a character who understands his limitations -- and the possibility that he could be wrong about some things actually occurs to him from time to time. Nevertheless, the two do a proper bit of sleuthing here, even if at times it seems as though they're playing at silly buggers. The amateur approach to crime solving here is interesting and I'm sure the author meant well, given his "passion for detective stories," but when it comes right down to it, there are several PPIs (problematic plot issues) that are really noticeable, especially for avid crime-reading junkies. Still, it's a fun little mystery novel, and I have a secret fondness for stately English-manor mysteries, so I found it quite enjoyable -- more so for the two main characters and how they go about pretending to partake in a Sherlockian adventure than for the plot itself. I also loved the introduction to this book, where Milne (yes, the Winnie-the-Pooh guy) talks about his love of detective stories and his ideas about the elements of the perfect detective story. I have to agree with him on most points. Some readers may find the language a little stilted -- one reader noted it as being "tedious," but fans of crime writing during this era are used to it so it's not really that big of a deal. And there's nothing at all tedious about it. If you're looking beyond Agatha Christie for a 1920s-period novel, you might enjoy this one.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Spinster

    You know the feeling when you're bored at work and decide that some reading would be nice, but none of the ebooks you've brought with you work on the work computer, so you turn to Gutenberg instead? No? Well, that's what happened to me one rainy December morning. And let me just take this opportunity to gush over Project Gutenberg and their immense library of thousands and thousands of (legally) free ebooks. Awesome finds, though obviously not today's bestsellers, what with the copyright laws. Still, fin You know the feeling when you're bored at work and decide that some reading would be nice, but none of the ebooks you've brought with you work on the work computer, so you turn to Gutenberg instead? No? Well, that's what happened to me one rainy December morning. And let me just take this opportunity to gush over Project Gutenberg and their immense library of thousands and thousands of (legally) free ebooks. Awesome finds, though obviously not today's bestsellers, what with the copyright laws. Still, finds like The Red House Mystery. I'm one of the probably very few people who chose to read the book without expecting much, Winnie-the-Pooh-wise. I remember reading one Pooh (as an adult) and liking it alright, but it's not a huge deal in my life. So I picked up The Red House Mystery just as I would any other author's light little mystery. Unfortunately I was almost immediately turned off a little by the beginning of the book, specifically the language of it. The 1920s English slang was irritating as hell. And not only did they have utterly ridiculous words, the upper class folk seemed pretty damn ridiculous with all that dandy giddiness too. Gave me the creeps it did. Eventually my brain grew accustomed to it and I didn't pay much attention to all the 'by joves' after a few chapters, not counting a few moments when I figured it must have been the lingo that made English people so keen on murder back in the '20s and '30s. After a stumbling and confusing start the book turned out to be a rather entertaining one. A few more boring days at work and as a short book it was soon finished. I liked the whodunit-turned-howandwhydunit angle, even though the big revelation seemed just a bit too far-fetched for my very amateur sleuth eye. I enjoyed the general style of writing, I'm not going back to the slang, but the way Milne writes is fairly pleasant. I know I shouldn't judge, reading the book after almost a hundred years after its first publication, but the Sherlock thing wasn't a very fresh idea. However, what I particularly enjoyed were the few moments of witty teasing between Sherlock and Watson. And last, a quote that captures the essence of The Red House Mystery in just a few short words: "By Jove, what a rum show it is. Good Lord!"

  25. 5 out of 5

    Sue

    A fun, classic mystery read which makes me want to pull out more of those older British mysteries which take place in fine homes in small or large villages where people come for long weekends of golf and croquet. And wonderful meals of course (though some of those breakfast foods do sound a bit off-putting to my ears). And then, naturally there is a murder which must be solved by an amateur sleuth. This one definitely had me...I didn't guess it, didn't even really want to. Just wanted to enjoy t A fun, classic mystery read which makes me want to pull out more of those older British mysteries which take place in fine homes in small or large villages where people come for long weekends of golf and croquet. And wonderful meals of course (though some of those breakfast foods do sound a bit off-putting to my ears). And then, naturally there is a murder which must be solved by an amateur sleuth. This one definitely had me...I didn't guess it, didn't even really want to. Just wanted to enjoy the ride.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Bev

    Milne, best known for his children's stories about Winnie-the-Pooh and the Hundred Acre Wood, was a self-proclaimed devotee of the detective novel. He particularly admired the stories that featured an amateur detective up against the amateur villain. No master criminals or investigative experts for him. So, when he decided to try his hand at crime fiction, it was perfectly natural that his mystery would be solved by someone with no detecting background. The Red House Mystery is, natur Milne, best known for his children's stories about Winnie-the-Pooh and the Hundred Acre Wood, was a self-proclaimed devotee of the detective novel. He particularly admired the stories that featured an amateur detective up against the amateur villain. No master criminals or investigative experts for him. So, when he decided to try his hand at crime fiction, it was perfectly natural that his mystery would be solved by someone with no detecting background. The Red House Mystery is, naturally, a country house mystery--with the added bonus of being a locked room mystery as well. Mark Ablett, owner of the country house in question, is hosting a variety of guests: a widow and her marriageable daughter, a retired major, a willful actress, and Bill Beverley, young man about town. At this time, Mark receives a message that is his long-lost brother (and black sheep of the family) Robert will be arriving soon. Robert shows up and is taken to the library to wait for his brother. Not long afterward, voices raised in argument are heard as well as a shot. The door to library is locked from within and no one answers when the house party members try to enter. In the meantime, Tony Gillingham, friend to Bill Beverley, arrives at the house. He is on hand to help break in the door and takes on the investigation from the beginning. Entry to the library reveals Robert dead, shot through the head...and Mark is nowhere to be found. It is suggested that in the heat of the argument Mark accidentally shot his brother and then ran away in a panic. Several circumstances do not match this solution, most of all how did Mark get out of the locked room? Milne does his best to stick to the Golden Age rule of presenting his readers with all the clues necessary to solve the mystery. And he does well with that--the reader can certainly look back and agree that everything was there if it had just been considered correctly. Sticklers for vintage mystery "rules" may quibble with the use of long-lost relatives and secret passages--which were frowned upon by Golden Age novelists. But the air of the mystery is that of light-hearted fun and not take-me-seriously crime fiction. In fact Tony and Bill are having such a grand time playing at Holmes and Watson, that they even feel a bit guilty. I remember being pleasantly surprised and delighted at this mystery from one of my favorite childhood authors. And being disappointed that, like Tigger, this is the only one. It's a shame that we didn't get to see Milne's skill as a detective novelist develop. All in all, this was a fun romp on the lighter side of vintage fiction that I remember quite fondly.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Santosh Iyer

    The story is set in an English country house called the Red House whose bachelor owner Mark Ablett is entertaining a house party with several guests. At breakfast, he receives a letter informing him that his wayward brother Robert from Austalia will be visiting his house that very day in the afternoon. Mark informs the other guests of this and sends them off to play golf while he prepares to meet his brother. Robert arrives in the afternoon and is received by Audrey, the parlour maid a The story is set in an English country house called the Red House whose bachelor owner Mark Ablett is entertaining a house party with several guests. At breakfast, he receives a letter informing him that his wayward brother Robert from Austalia will be visiting his house that very day in the afternoon. Mark informs the other guests of this and sends them off to play golf while he prepares to meet his brother. Robert arrives in the afternoon and is received by Audrey, the parlour maid and taken to the office room on the ground floor. Unable to locate Mark, Audrey goes out of the house to search for him. In the meanwhile, a shot is heard from the office room. Matthew Cayley, secretary and cousin of Mark rushes to the office room door and tries to open it but finds it locked. He bangs on the door, but there is no response from inside. At the same time, Antony Gillingham enters the house. He has come there to visit his friend Bill Beverley, one of the guests. Gillingham and Cayley go round the house and enter the office room through the French windows. They find Robert lying on the floor, shot dead. Mark is nowhere to be found. He seems to have disappeared. It is presumed that Mark shot Robert, perhaps accidentally, and then ran away to escape the consequences. Antony Gillingham is a traveller and adventurer, rich enough to please himself and apply himself to any occupation that interests him. He decides to assume the role of “Sherlock Holmes” and solve the mystery of the murder of Robert and the disappearance of Mark Ablett. His friend Bill assumes the role of “Watson” and together they are able to solve the mystery. This is a classic Golden Age detective fiction. It is a pleasant and enjoyable read, full of wit and humour. A fun and lighthearted mystery. The plot is clever and intriguing. There are several twists and turns and interest is sustained till the end. The solution is fully satisfying. It is also a fair play mystery. All the clues are there. Not only the whodunit, but also the whydunit and howdunit are mysterious. Also mysterious is the disappearance of Mark, the solution to which comes as a surprise. Unfortunately, this is the only detective novel written by A. A. Milne. He clearly had the talent to write such novels.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Mark Flowers

    Milne's introduction is worth quoting at length, because it's such a hilarious encapsulation of the way publishers think (both in the 20s and now): "When I told my agent a few years ago that I was going to write a detective story, he recovered as quickly as could be expected, but made it clear to me (as a succession of editors and publishers made it clear, later, to him) that what the country wanted form 'a well-known Punch humorist' was a 'humorous story.' However, I was resolved upo Milne's introduction is worth quoting at length, because it's such a hilarious encapsulation of the way publishers think (both in the 20s and now): "When I told my agent a few years ago that I was going to write a detective story, he recovered as quickly as could be expected, but made it clear to me (as a succession of editors and publishers made it clear, later, to him) that what the country wanted form 'a well-known Punch humorist' was a 'humorous story.' However, I was resolved upon a life of crime; and the result was such that when, two years afterwards, I announced I was writing a book of nursery rhymes, my agent and publisher were equally convinced that what the English-speaking nations most desired was a new detective story. Another two years have gone by; the public appetite has changed once morel and it is obvious now that a new detective story, written in the face of this steady terrestrial demand for children's books, would be in the worst of taste." Aside from this hilarious introduction, the book itself is quite amazing. For having been written so early in the history of classic detective novels (Christie had only published 2) it shows an amazing awareness of the genre and its cliches. And the mystery is fascinating. *spoilers* There are only two people ever considered as murderer, and one of them disappears after the first 20 pages or so. The real mystery has more to do with *how* the murder was accomplished, and it is all done very well. I admit that I was not (until recently) aware that Milne had written so much other than Pooh, but I am quickly becoming a fan.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Robert

    This is an amusing, some-what genre-mocking little Country House murder-mystery - but still intriguing enough to keep the pages turning. I managed to partially guess what was going on but not enough of it to spoil the story; there's nothing worse than figuring out the mystery ahead of its revelation by the amateur sleuth. It's interesting to note that this type of story appeared to be something of a cliche to its author all the way back in 1922, hence the slightly mocking tone. How mu This is an amusing, some-what genre-mocking little Country House murder-mystery - but still intriguing enough to keep the pages turning. I managed to partially guess what was going on but not enough of it to spoil the story; there's nothing worse than figuring out the mystery ahead of its revelation by the amateur sleuth. It's interesting to note that this type of story appeared to be something of a cliche to its author all the way back in 1922, hence the slightly mocking tone. How much time was there between the inception of the detective story (by Poe) and it becoming somewhat old hat? Less than 80 years apparently.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Jenn Estepp

    Did you know that Mr. Winnie-the-Pooh wrote a mystery? I know! Me, neither! But, he wrote it for his dad who was a big mystery reader (insert collective, Aww.) and it is decent country house fare. It reminds me sort of what Allingham was going for with her first, but much better done. And I sort of wish that he had written more because his hero is grade-A likable. As an astute mystery reader aficionado, I sort of had the culprit figured out early on, but it was still fun seeing the how and the w Did you know that Mr. Winnie-the-Pooh wrote a mystery? I know! Me, neither! But, he wrote it for his dad who was a big mystery reader (insert collective, Aww.) and it is decent country house fare. It reminds me sort of what Allingham was going for with her first, but much better done. And I sort of wish that he had written more because his hero is grade-A likable. As an astute mystery reader aficionado, I sort of had the culprit figured out early on, but it was still fun seeing the how and the why of the situation unfold.

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