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I had no idea that AA Milne had written an amateur detective story until I saw the CRA blog (Crime Friction Lover) on Twitter and my curiosity piqued.

This is a decent, clean murder mystery without a hint of the gratuitous. Even the murder appeared to be described in a nice manner. It’s a typical, traditional whodunit: an apparent locked room problem with a little intrigue is included into a relatively short read. It’s written in quite refreshing and upbeat way, which to be honest I didn't expect.

The characters were interesting and the ending’s pretty good. However, there was one minor irritation part way through, as Milne allowed his amateur “Sherlock” to share his findings/thoughts in painstaking detail. Given the fact that this is a short book anyway I found this unnecessary.

If you want a light-hearted, cosy crime story that you could read on a slow afternoon then look no further than ‘The Red House Mystery’. All things being equal, I’m glad I stumbled upon the opportunity to discover it myself.

A small comment about the cover and the print:
I found the typeface coupled with the narrow line spacing difficult to read. Also, the cover is looked like it was produced on matt card from your average printer. Yes, I appreciate that it’s a ‘vintage’ paperback, but I would have expected something a little nicer for the price.
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on 1 March 2015
An absolute delight. And a surprise for me as I didn't realise that A.A.Milne wrote anything other than children's books. This is a good 'cosy' murder mystery by a masterful writer from the P.G.Wodehouse era.
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on 24 December 2016
Liked the way the author speaks directly to us,the readers, making us feel included. He's also, very fair to the reader, giving us all the clues needed to solve the puzzle ourselves. I enjoyed too his mischevious sense of humour. The puzzle, although improbable is non the less an entertaining one.
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VINE VOICEon 3 December 2008
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Crisp writing, a delightful, and gentle murder-mystery - if such a thing is possible. None of the gruesome descriptions so prevalent in current writers, but an intellectual puzzle, well crafted and thought out.

Much could be said, but it simply is a classic in the genre - all the usual suspects, murder in the study and secret passages - but Milne manages to avoid it being cliched. And he also manages to subtly poke a little fun at the whole genre on the way through.

If you like Dorothy Sayers you'll like this.

Nicely produced externally, although I thought the print inside wasnt as crisp as it could have been. It certainly looks the part.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 24 June 2009
The best bit of the book is AA Milne's introduction: lively and witty. The actual book is enjoyable, but, as the writer wasn't really taking it seriously, the tongue-in-cheek style became a bit tiresome. I am reminded how good Agatha Christie's books are when I read an author trying to emulate or satirize the genre.
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VINE VOICEon 25 November 2008
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
The Red House Mystery is a well written and entertaining who dunnit by a well known literary figure. The name AA Milne will of course bring straight to mind Winnie the Pooh but this is not a children's book. It is a well plotted and described murder mystery with well drawn characters.

We have our amateur sleuth who decides to in the words of the author "play Sherlock Holmes" when a murder is committed at the Red House of the title and has his friend play his loyal Watson.

There is a full cast of interesting characters and as with any good mystery secret passages, baffled policemen and red herrings aplenty all set in wonderfully described country landscape.

It's a shame that Milne only wrote the one murder mystery, his grasp of the genre was excellent and this book stands up easily against the best of the rest like Christie, Sayers, Allingham, Marsh and Wallace to name a few.

At only 210 pages the Red House Mystery is not long but is a very enjoyable read and I would recommend it highly to those who enjoy reading books from the golden age of crime fiction.
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on 6 January 2017
Printed across the front cover of "The Dell Great Mystery Library" edition of A. A. Milne's THE RED HOUSE MYSTERY (1922) are Alexander Woollcott's famous words of praise: "One of the three best mystery stories of all time." However, after reading Milne's mystery, anyone who has read even a handful of these vintage mysteries--Wilkie Collins' THE MOONSTONE, Conan Doyle's THE HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES, Grant Allen's THE AFRICAN MILLIONAIRE, Baroness Orczy's OLD MAN IN THE CORNER mysteries, E. C. Bentley's TRENT'S LAST CASE, Philip MacDonald's THE RASP, Anthony Berkeley's THE POISONED CHOCOLATE CASE or THE PICCADILLY MURDER, any of R. Austin Freeman's Dr. Thorndyke mysteries, and virtually any short or long Agatha Christie mystery--will probably feel that Woollcott's praise is excessive.

THE RED HOUSE MYSTERY involves a murder in a British country house where a small number of invited guests have been staying. Although the mystery in this book is well constructed, and although fair clues are presented for half of it, my chief objection is that the remaining half is "solved" entirely by a letter of confession written by the guilty party. To be more precise, we readers and the two amateur detectives (but not the police) are able to figure out the secret of WHO was killed and WHO killed him, but not WHY he was killed. And, in hindsight, it turns out that we readers and the two amateur detectives are chiefly able to reach a fairly certain conclusion about the identity of the killer because our correct conclusion was based on a totally WRONG idea about that person's motive for the murder.

My other main objection to this mystery is that the "telling" of its story is very shallow. The characters are all two-dimensional with no deeply presented feelings about anything. The two amateur detectives, Antony [sic] Gillingham and his friend Bill Beverley, often refer to each other as "Watson" and "Holmes"--with Beverley, the "Watson" one, often exclaiming how much "fun" he is having, and Gillingham, the "Holmes" one, coming across a key clue (an old theatrical poster) by convenient luck near the end ... and taking mysteriously unmotivated mercy on the killer.

Finally, in the last two pages as "Holmes" presents the many strands of his reasoning to "Watson," he totally forgets and misrepresents (or rather Milne himself totally forgot and misrepresented) the clearly established (and CRUCIAL) sequence of two events: when the owner of the Red House told his house-guests that his ne'er-do-well brother was coming to visit, and when he told that same information to a nearby neighbor, the mother of the young woman he planned to marry.

If I were giving this novel a letter grade, it would be a weak "C+". Incidentally, within the first 50 pages I correctly guessed everything that could be solved in this book, not because I'm any sort of good detective, but merely because I happen to be quite familiar with HOW mystery writers construct their plots.
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on 17 July 2017
This book was kind of a let down, and that’s true even bearing in mind the fact that I knew my uncle didn’t think much of it – and we have pretty similar taste in books, especially when it comes to detective novels.

I think the problem that I had here is that the first dozen or so pages were given over to one of Milne’s essays in which he basically claimed that this is the perfect mystery novel. It’s not the perfect mystery novel – it’s a deliberate imitation of the classic detective novel, but it just doesn’t add anything. I think perhaps he was hoping to parody the genre, but the outcome is just a novel that’s kind of okay but mostly unnecessary, and a weird addition to the literary canon of the man who created Winnie the Pooh.

The truth is that despite what my uncle said, I’d been looking forward to reading this. I’ve always liked detective novels, and this one is something of a classic. Unfortunately, it’s more like a fantasy novel by Richard Dawkins – written by someone with talent who was working with the wrong genre.
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on 23 June 2011
First published in 1922 "The Red House Mystery" is one of Milne's adult novels, a thoroughly enjoyable murder mystery which vividly evokes its English country house setting as summed up in the opening paragraph:

"In the drowsy heat of the summer afternoon the Red House was taking its siesta. There was a lazy murmur of bees in the flower-borders, a gentle cooing of pigeons in the tops of the elms. From distant lawns came the whir of a mowing-machine, that most restful of all country sounds; making ease the sweeter in that it is taken while others are working."

The style of the book is light and witty and the character of Bill Beverley (exemplified by the expression 'Righto') makes a fun Watson to the novel's Holmes, the worldly Tony Gillingham, a jack of all trades who decides it might be fun to play detective. Certain features make this novel stand out from other mysteries of the era: for most of the book, for example, the stage is peopled by only three characters, and the narrative consists of a solution to the murder being gradually refined.

Highly recommended for those who like golden age detective stories.
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VINE VOICEon 13 January 2009
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Before seeing this book I was unaware that A A Milne had written anything other than the much-loved Winnie The Pooh stories. When I saw that he had also tried a detective story, I was intrigued, as they are such different domains. Could he excel at both? The answer appears to be yes.

After a charming introduction where Milne explains that he only likes amateur detective stories where it is a member of the public (and so, metaphorically, any reader) who solves the crime, we then turn the page and find ourselves in The Red House, an English manor house where soon a murder will be committed. And thankfully, it is soon - none of the faffing around for ten chapters that some books have.

The mystery is an intriguing one, with the classic locked doors, lost keys, missing people, secret passages, etc. It's a little Sherlock Holmes and even slightly Jonathon Creek-ish. As some other reviewers have pointed out, there aren't masses of suspects; in fact, we are quickly left with just two (and one is almost entirely absent from proceedings). However for me the mystery lay in how and why the criminal had committed the crime, rather than who had done it.

But it is not the mystery that pleased me most, it was rather Milne's lovely and often amusing writing, and his charming characters. This is a really great book to read, as it seems intimately written and sweet whilst still being a murder story! I didn't want to put it down and I am recommending it to all my friends!

If I had to point out a downside, the ending is a little quick and the denoument (if that's the correct word) is slightly disappointing with a few questions left open. However that's a small price to pay for a generally excellent book.

In addition, this little hardback book is charmingly produced and looks very cute and vintage! A girly thing to say, I know, but it's important to consider how things will look on your bookshelf!
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