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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 Mr. Ma 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.


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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 Mr. Ma 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.

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 for detective stories, and feel that there are not eno 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

    Mara

    I'd call this more of a locked room mystery than an isolated closed circle, but it definitely has some of the same charms as that kind of story and it certainly is a country house mystery. The thing that worked best for me was the writing itself-- the mystery was only OK, but I think that's probably because it was an early version of this kind of twist. Short & sweet, I'd recommend it to anyone interested in classic mystery or the origins of the genre. Sadly, Pooh was not the culprit I'd call this more of a locked room mystery than an isolated closed circle, but it definitely has some of the same charms as that kind of story and it certainly is a country house mystery. The thing that worked best for me was the writing itself-- the mystery was only OK, but I think that's probably because it was an early version of this kind of twist. Short & sweet, I'd recommend it to anyone interested in classic mystery or the origins of the genre. Sadly, Pooh was not the culprit

  3. 4 out of 5

    Fiona

    Read in preparation for reading Eight Perfect Murders, otherwise published as Rules for Perfect Murders. Antony Gillingham arrives at a country house, The Red House, just as a murder is committed. He is a man who lives by his wits, taking up whatever occupation appeals to him or offers itself to him at any time, and so he becomes an amateur sleuth for the purposes of finding out whodunnit. It’s a thoroughly enjoyable, locked room murder mystery. It’s full of By Joves! and I say, old chap! and men Read in preparation for reading Eight Perfect Murders, otherwise published as Rules for Perfect Murders. Antony Gillingham arrives at a country house, The Red House, just as a murder is committed. He is a man who lives by his wits, taking up whatever occupation appeals to him or offers itself to him at any time, and so he becomes an amateur sleuth for the purposes of finding out whodunnit. It’s a thoroughly enjoyable, locked room murder mystery. It’s full of By Joves! and I say, old chap! and men walking across the lawn arm in arm. It’s of its time (the early 1920s) and class. The Red House’s servants and local villagers are of the ooh arr variety - simple folks in more than one way! Milne dedicated the book to his father and I felt there were quite a few in jokes for his amusement. There is a lot of humour in it for us as well. Milne clearly had a very dry wit. I guessed some elements of the outcome early on but that just held my interest in trying to work out how we got to Z from A (Gillingham’s analogy is an algebra problem). At the end, Milne out-Christies Christie and Gillingham out-Poirots Poirot with his forensic analysis of how and why the crime was committed. Between 4 and 5 stars for me but because it entertained me so much, I’m giving it 5.

  4. 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 t 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.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Emma

    I read and thoroughly enjoyed Peter Swanson’s Eight Perfect Murders last week and wanted to read those books referenced. So who knew AA Milne wrote anything outside the hundred acre woods? Not me! Having the memory of a goldfish, I had already forgotten the spoilers revealed by Swanson, so despite the very dated style, I found I had to keep reading because I needed to know how the murder was done. Now I know.

  6. 5 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.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Veronique

    3.5* “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.” Milne, famous creator of Winnie-the-Pooh, wrote one detective mystery, seemingly as a gesture for his father (as the dedication shows). Imagine my curiosity! And as it happens, I rather enjoyed it, even though it was a little too tongue-in-cheek for my liking. Much of the ‘action’ con 3.5* “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.” Milne, famous creator of Winnie-the-Pooh, wrote one detective mystery, seemingly as a gesture for his father (as the dedication shows). Imagine my curiosity! And as it happens, I rather enjoyed it, even though it was a little too tongue-in-cheek for my liking. Much of the ‘action’ consists in Anthony Gillingham, our would be investigator, taking on the mantel of Sherlock Holmes, finding himself someone to play the role of Watson, and thus attired, making the use of his grey cells to come up with various theories. The setting is pure classic murder mystery - a house with secret passages, a library, a lake, etc. The characters peopling this space did feel stereotyped but then they were not the focus of the novel. No, Milne concentrated on the conundrum, toying with the reader and the poor ‘Watson’. From what I’ve gathered, the contemporary public enjoyed it and wanted more, but our author was attracted by very different pastures. Mind you, there is a parallel between mysteries and children stories - they both end with the order re-established and thus offer a very similar kind of ‘comforting feeling’. I guess that is one of the reasons mysteries are so popular :O)

  8. 5 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 D 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.

  9. 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 reading this] 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!

  10. 4 out of 5

    Lyn Elliott

    Who knew A.A. Milne wrote a mystery before he began his poetry and stories for children? Clearly a great many people, because his Red House Mystery has been issued in 142 editions. It’s a delight. Clever, gently satirical, lively and absolutely of its time (1922). So many clues the air is full of red herrings - yes, I’m visualising a red house full of flying red fish.

  11. 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 dr 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.

  12. 4 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 pro 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.

  13. 5 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.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Coni (conireads or skingproject)

    I had no idea that the author of Winnie the Pooh also wrote a mystery novel. I really had a lot of fun reading this one. It was a parody of English mysteries and I found it rather amusing. The main character of Anthony Gillingham is a young man with the means to pick up random jobs here and there, just to see what they are like. He is in between one of his odd jobs, when he stumbles into a murder scene while coming to visit his friend Bill at The Red House. He startles one of the house's resident I had no idea that the author of Winnie the Pooh also wrote a mystery novel. I really had a lot of fun reading this one. It was a parody of English mysteries and I found it rather amusing. The main character of Anthony Gillingham is a young man with the means to pick up random jobs here and there, just to see what they are like. He is in between one of his odd jobs, when he stumbles into a murder scene while coming to visit his friend Bill at The Red House. He startles one of the house's residents who has heard a gunshot and is trying to get inside a locked room to find out what happened. After finding out it is a murder, Anthony decides he wants to act like Sherlock Holmes and make Bill his Watson. These two go out investigating the murder while not letting the police investigators or anyone else in the house know what they were up to. It was fun to read about them coming up with theories and also trying to follow up on their theories while sneaking around, especially when they had an idea who they thought might be the murderer. I really wanted to read more about Anthony and Bill going on to solve other crimes, but sadly this seems to be the only mystery that Milne wrote. I read this book as part of my project to read all the books referenced in Eight Perfect Murders. This book also fulfills the Building Blocks challenge in A Book for All Seasons group where we were asked to locate and review a book titled or primarily about some form of structure in which people can enter.

  15. 5 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!

  16. 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-conscious stab at the genre at 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.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Jean Menzies

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

  18. 4 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.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Cynthia

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

  20. 5 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.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Charles Edwards-Freshwater

    First of all, who would of thought that the author of Winnie the Pooh also had a fun murder mystery inside him? The Red House Mystery is a perfect example of a diverting little puzzle based around a grisly murder that makes Golden Age crime writing such a joy. It has everything you would expect - a big country house, secret passages, mistaken identities and double crossings - in fact it's very much a textbook mystery that it feels almost familiar, which for the mood I'm in right now, was a comfor First of all, who would of thought that the author of Winnie the Pooh also had a fun murder mystery inside him? The Red House Mystery is a perfect example of a diverting little puzzle based around a grisly murder that makes Golden Age crime writing such a joy. It has everything you would expect - a big country house, secret passages, mistaken identities and double crossings - in fact it's very much a textbook mystery that it feels almost familiar, which for the mood I'm in right now, was a comfort rather than an annoyance. It's no Agatha Christie, but the mystery itself is rather enjoyable and peppered with the usual clues and subterfuge that make these puzzles a delight to lose a few hours in. What sets this one apart from some lesser offerings is undoubtedly the bromance at the core between the protagonist and his "Watson", Bill. I love these two as a duo, and there are lots of brilliant light-hearted scenes of them very much enjoying the whole thing - it's pretty fabulous reading. The whole story is also dripping in homosexual subtext (there are perhaps...two female characters?) and that's really rather good fun too. At the end of the day, it's a fun puzzle which will please the reader but not blow your mind. Recommended for a couple of sunny afternoons. 4 stars.

  22. 5 out of 5

    dianne

    "It knew now where it was going, and it said to itself, 'There is no hurry. We shall get there some day.'" The House at Pooh Corner What a delightful place to find myself - more writings of A.A.Milne. His brilliant insights from the Hundred-Acre-Wood sustained me through some tough times and finding his Grown Up writing feels a bit like landing in a huge feather bed, a soft place to fall in a dysphoric world. The humor, the humanity, the gentle poking at the remaining pomposity of All-Hail-Britanni "It knew now where it was going, and it said to itself, 'There is no hurry. We shall get there some day.'" The House at Pooh Corner What a delightful place to find myself - more writings of A.A.Milne. His brilliant insights from the Hundred-Acre-Wood sustained me through some tough times and finding his Grown Up writing feels a bit like landing in a huge feather bed, a soft place to fall in a dysphoric world. The humor, the humanity, the gentle poking at the remaining pomposity of All-Hail-Britannia! are all there to be found in this nearly flawless, bite sized mystery. The peripatetic, independent, jack-of-all-trades amateur Sherlock (Antony) and his puppy-dog like buddy (guest at the manor house, site of the murder) Watson (Bill) complete a lovely pas de deux; the latter only realizing at the end, for instance, that every time Antony asks for a light he pockets the box of matches. But the obvious Milne, writing of the type that can be seen later in the characters in the Wood, is what i love best. Here are two bits. From the Introduction: ”It is, to me a distressing thought that in nine-tenths of the detective stories of the world murderers are continually effecting egresses when they might just as easily go out.” Later (in the thick of it) Antony and Bill are sitting alone in a park. Antony is talking: “‘...He’s bound to be suspicious of everybody in the house, and more particularly of us, because we’re presumably more intelligent than the others.’ He stopped for a moment to light his pipe, and Bill took the opportunity of looking more intelligent than Mrs. Stevens.” 1922, the year this book was written (before Winnie-the-Pooh) George V is King. The War To End All Wars has ended and no one can imagine that the adorable Edward (VIII, to be) would ever do such a thing!! For a moment, just, times were...quiet. Women have the vote in the USA and my mother is born. What could go wrong? Recommended for when a 1922 evening is needed.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Leslie

    Of COURSE A. A. Milne is best known for his Winnie-the-Pooh tales and other books for children, which is why this book was a surprise find for me; fortunately, it was also a true delight. I am a huge fan of the classic English country house mystery, and this book contains all of the usual elements: a murder, a locked room, a person gone missing, house guests, a gentleman on holiday who happens upon it all and becomes the story's amateur sleuth, and in the midst of all this—dressing for dinner. Th Of COURSE A. A. Milne is best known for his Winnie-the-Pooh tales and other books for children, which is why this book was a surprise find for me; fortunately, it was also a true delight. I am a huge fan of the classic English country house mystery, and this book contains all of the usual elements: a murder, a locked room, a person gone missing, house guests, a gentleman on holiday who happens upon it all and becomes the story's amateur sleuth, and in the midst of all this—dressing for dinner. The Red House Mystery is a very fun book that doesn't take itself too seriously; it is also a book clearly of its time, the 1920s. Unfortunately, this was Milne's only mystery, although the end of the story hints at further adventures; while I'm disappointed that those did not come to pass, his introduction to this edition explains why (and made me chuckle, which is why I'm excerpting it here): “When I told my agent a few years ago that I was going to write a detective story, he...made it clear to me...that what the country wanted from a 'well-known “Punch” humorist' was a 'humorous story”.... [T]he result was such that when, two years afterwards, I announced that I was writing a book of nursery rhymes, my agent and my 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 more; and it is obvious now that a new detective story, written in the face of this steady terrestial demand for children's books, would be in the worst of taste.” Truly English. Truly delightful. And I'm not talking about just Milne's introduction, but the book itself.

  24. 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, and you can’t have peo “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.”

  25. 5 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.

  26. 4 out of 5

    The Crime Librarian

    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 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.

  27. 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.

  28. 4 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.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Shalini Nemo

    Predictable, but fun.

  30. 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 li 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

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