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A very enjoyable mystery - if only he had written more!,
This review is from: The Red House Mystery (Hardcover)
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A A Milne the mystery writer was a surprise to me - we all know him for the bear who loves honey. This novel predates Christopher Robin et al by a couple of years, which means it was written around the time of the last Sherlock Holmes mysteries - although they remained forever stuck in the late 1800's in attitude if not in their setting. This is very much a 1920's mystery story, and the quintessential one at that - the country house murder mystery.
In his introduction, Mr. Milne states that it was his intention to write the ultimate mystery story: one where the clues are laid out so the reader can guess; one where the thought process of the hero is laid out so we can follow along; one without a final drawing room reveal with a detail previously unmentioned; one without a Holmsian feat of deduction beyond the average policeman. With this beautifully presented hardback edition, he almost succeeds in his grandiose task.
It's a swift book, entertaining in a genteel way, with a reasonably interesting mystery. The pace is constant, the tone light, and it captures the time period well. The biggest surprise for me was the humour - Milne worked at Punch previously to this and it shows in the observational humour - see the dialogue of the house maids for an example. At the time, this was probably laugh-out-loud funny, and even now it raises a wry smile upon reading.
The Red House Mystery is an enjoyable piece of fluff, and well worth a read whether you are a big mystery fan or not.