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The Red House Mystery by A. A. Milne
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The Red House Mystery (original 1922; edition 1949)

by A. A. Milne (Author), William Sutherland (Narrator), Hardcover (Narrator), Use Kindle Fire, no immersion1 more, ebook plus Audio

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7772811,868 (3.41)84
Member:ebeach
Title:The Red House Mystery
Authors:A. A. Milne (Author)
Other authors:William Sutherland (Narrator), Hardcover (Narrator), Use Kindle Fire, no immersion, ebook plus Audio
Info:Hardcover, eBook Kindle Fire, audiobook
Collections:Your library, Book plus Audio, Have Read
Rating:***
Tags:800 LITERATURE: FICTION, Novel, Mystery, Scottish, England, eBook: Kindle Fire, Audiobook: Kindle Fire, no immersion

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The Red House Mystery by A. A. Milne (1922)

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In the time-honored tradition of the classic British mystery, a house party goes terribly awry when one of the guests is murdered and the host disappears. Mark Ablett, owner of the Red House, enjoys collecting people around him, so the house party includes such diverse characters as his private secretary, a military man, an actress, and several idle young people. The party appears to be going well until Ablett learns that his brother, the black sheep of the family who had been living in Australia, will be visiting the Red House for an unspecified but sinister reason. When Robert is inevitably murdered, Mark is nowhere to be found. Is he the murderer, or did someone else in the house party do the deed? Young man-about-town Antony Gillingham just happens to arrive on the scene at a pivotal moment, so he decides to try his skill as an amateur detective; but ultimately he discovers that the solution to the mystery is far more tragic than amusing.

When I came across this book a few years ago, I was delighted to discover that the creator of Winnie the Pooh had written a mystery story! It follows many conventions of the classic Golden Age mystery -- such as being "fair," with all clues presented to the reader as the detective discovers them -- but it turned out to be a bit darker and sadder than I was expecting. Tony discovers the murderer's identity fairly early in the book, so the bulk of the mystery lies in discovering how and why the deed was done. And the thing is, I found the murderer very sympathetic! So I was disappointed that this character turned out to be the guilty party. Also, unlike many mysteries from this period, this book doesn't contain much humor, nor are there any subplots to lighten the mood of suspense and doom. Tony's sidekick provides a few funny moments, but otherwise the tone remains pretty dark. Finally, Tony's character isn't developed very much, which disappointed me; he seemed really interesting, and I would have liked to know more about his backstory. The book is still worth reading if you enjoy Golden Age mysteries, but I have to admit, it wasn't my favorite.
  christina_reads | Sep 4, 2014 |
The Red House Mystery is A.A. Milne’s only mystery novel; he is better known for his humorous writing, children’s stories (including the timeless Winnie the Pooh), and poems.

A ‘locked-room whodunit’ with an amateur detective, this book followed Agatha Christie’s Mysterious Affair at Styles by only two years (and predates her other work). It’s an elegant and witty, and it’s a perfect time capsule of early 1920s English country manor life. AND it has a solid mystery that’s fairly clued.

I wish Milne had written 50 more like this. I haven’t enjoyed a book so much in a long time – and I read it on my Kindle! 4½ stars

Read this if: you’d like a stylish vintage English murder mystery. 4½ stars ( )
  ParadisePorch | Jul 12, 2014 |
A delightfully frothy golden age detective fiction read with lots of twists and turns, much witty dialouge and the usual lack of gore and violence, despite the dead body. A lovely read.
  amyem58 | Jul 3, 2014 |
IMO more a mystery pastiche than a true mystery. In his preface Milne lays out the criteria for what is for him a perfect mystery, including all the usual bits for "cosy" English mysteries, plus the necessity that the sleuth be an amateur. Unfortunately in this case the sleuth is way too self-conscious of his role as Holmes, and spends much time commenting on that circumstance. There are very few other characters in this short novel. The bulk of the usual suspects are dismissed in just a few chapters, leaving just the hero and his Watson. The chief suspect and the inspector are brought in as little as possible. All this leads to a fairly uninteresting but quick read. Recommended only to fans of both Milne and locked room mysteries (which this isn't but might as well be).

While not quite a locked room mystery, this short novel shares many of the qualities of those carefully constructed puzzles. ( )
  ChrisRiesbeck | Jun 25, 2014 |
Good mystery. wonderful introduction by A A Milne. I copied it to keep. ( )
  njcur | Feb 13, 2014 |
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» Add other authors (21 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
A. A. Milneprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Crælius, AnnaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Greene, DouglasIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hannula, RistoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Simon, ElisabethTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Taylor, Wendell HertigPrefacesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Dedication
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 write you one. Here it is: with more gratitude and affection than I can well put down here.

A.A.M.
First words
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 publisher made it clear, later, to him) that what the country wanted from "a well-known 'Punch' humorist" was a "humorous story".
(Introduction)
In the drowsy heat of the summer afternoon the Red House was taking its siesta.
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To Antony, who was older and who realized into what deep waters they were getting, it did not seem fun. But it was amazingly interesting. He saw so much, and yet somehow it was all out of focus. It was like looking at an opal, and discovering with every movement of it some new colour, some new gleam of light reflected, and yet never really seeing the opal as a whole. He was too near it, or too far away; he strained his eyes and he relaxed his eyes; it was no good. His brain could not get hold of it. But there were moments when he almost had it ... and then turned away from it. (Vintage Books 2008, p. 121)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0486401294, Paperback)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:56:01 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

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.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 7 descriptions

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