Antony Gillingham is in the country and realising that he is not too far away from The Red House where his friend Bill Beverley is spending the weekend decides to wander over on a surprise visit, arriving just in time for a locked room mystery; the discovery of a dead body, a missing host and a soon-to-be-baffled local constabulary. And of course he decides to look into the matter himself, because that’s what you would do, wouldn’t you?
Why did I want to read this?
Recommendation from someone else’s blog (and sorry to that person, I can’t remember exactly where I saw this mentioned) plus attractive cover plus love of classic era whodunits made this irresistible.
What did I think of it?
The Red House Mystery is the only detective novel written by AA Milne, he of Winnie the Pooh fame, and the latter fact is hammered home to us several times on the cover of this book.
Far from the gentle slopes of the Hundred Acre Wood lies The Red House
[..] a lost gem from the time before Tigger [..]
and so on; you get the drift. And in some ways the harping on at Milne’s more famous creation seems to suggest the publisher is almost apologetic about this book which is a real shame as this really is a little masterpiece of detective fiction and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The lead characters are charming, the mystery is just mysterious enough and although I guessed the “twist” quite early on (which just shows that I spend far too much time watching crime shows on TV) and I had a fairly good idea of who the killer might be, I had absolutely no inkling as to the motive and none of this spoiled my enjoyment of a brisk and breezy read which was really great fun.
And as a bonus there is an introduction from Milne who outs himself as an aficionado of this type of fiction and makes very clear his likes and dislikes and that basically he wrote this novel for himself.