102. The Red House Mystery by A.A. Milne
Publication: ebook, 156pp
Read: June 9, 2012
Source: Project Gutenburg
Summary from Amazon:
This droll whodunit from the creator of Winnie the Pooh sparkles with witty dialogue, deft plotting, and an amusing cast. In between taking tea and playing billiards, an amateur detective and his chum investigate their genial host’s disappearance. A series of lighthearted capers ensues, replete with secret passageways, underwater evidence, and other atmospheric devices.
A.A. Milne surprises me again! As much as I adore the Pooh books, I can’t help but enjoy AAM’s adult books more (not that I’ve read all that many). There’s something about them that makes it easier for me to understand his brand of humor. Most of the time with the Pooh books I have no idea what’s going on humor-wise except for the obvious, but with AAM’s adult books I can understand it a bit better. Not that The Red House Mystery is a COMEDY, but it does have enough witty stuff in it to keep me entertained.
It’s a locked-room mystery, too,1 and so enjoyable I wish he’d written more mysteries. The detective, who’s somewhat along the lines of a Lord Peter character, is competant without being annoying and charming without going over-the-top. His Watson isn’t a dunce, thank god,2 and the pair of them make an entertaining team.
I’ll admit that I figured out the solution about four chapters before the detective did, but that didn’t damper my enjoyment of reading it through ’til the end. I DO wish AAM had written more mysteries. It’s tragic that this is his only one.
I really liked it!
things mean a lot: “One of the interesting things about The Moonstone, and about Victorian sensation in general, is the fact that it’s based on the idea that the very existence of genteel criminals was shocking and difficult to believe. In 1922, A.A. Milne could play with that notion in a way that Collins couldn’t yet have done in 1868, because as much as he worked to subvert this, it was still too sensational to blatantly defy upper-class respectability. But the social changes that took place in those decades allowed Milne to write a novel that directly pokes fun at the notion of inherent genteel respectability.”
Novel Insights: “Tony and Bill make the perfect Holmes-Watson partnership unravelling the many clues, and it was great to just read something a bit fun. I enjoyed Milne’s writing and found that I could see echos of Pooh Bear about Bill. At times Tony is a little arch in his manner but that’s part of what makes the dialogue between the two characters so entertaining.”
Wordsmithonia: “The wit, sarcasm, and humor that is so prevalent in the Winnie the Pooh books are all on full display with The Red House Mystery. It was a fun, light romp of a mystery that was pure brain enjoyment. The crime itself is far fetched and the characters are over the top, but the I wouldn’t have had it any other way.”
The author’s photo comes from Goodreads. It’s not mine! Book cover comes from Amazon. It’s not mine, either.