Pages - 203
Originally published in 1922, republished by Vintage in 2009
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 sounds; making ease the sweeter in htat it is taken while others are working.
A.A. Milne returns to his beloved Hundred Acre Wood to create his one and only detective story. Whilst Pooh is off somewhere else having adventures with Tigger and Piglet, A.A. Milne is visiting the Red House within the woods, solving a murder case.
Red House is a busy country house with lots of guests enjoying a stay with the house owner Mr Mark Ablett. When Mr Ablett disappears and the body of his brother is found dead, the police step in, but are completely baffled by the case.
On the scene arrives a visitor, Mr Gillingham, who appoints himself as an amateur 'Sherlock Holmes. With the aid of his friend and house guest Bill, they set out to solve the crime.
I don't read a lot of crime novels but I did find this one intriguing. You were not left guessing in this book at all. You got to find out what had happened at the same time as the characters in the book, so you didn't feel like you had been sidelined or ignored.
By the end, you were very much aware of who had committed the crime, but a little unsure of the reasons why it occurred. But like all good crime novels, the end was wrapped up nicely.
In the introduction, you discover that A.A. Milne was passionate about detective novels. He wanted his book to be different from the ones he read. He was determined to write a book without a professional crime solver and he managed it with ease, and with unscientific amateur sleuth.
This book is definitely the fore runner for the cozy mysteries that adorn book shelves today. The murders are gently swept under the carpet and no gory descriptions are written to leave you with sleepless nights, hiding with the covers over your head. This book would delight hard core Enid Blyton fans, with its secret passages, red herrings and befuddled policemen. If Blyton had written grown up mysteries, then I feel this book would be the style she would write.
This book is a delightful read, full of interesting twists and turns, where the ending is neatly sewn up and a satisfied feeling occurs. I have to say a huge thankyou to Ana over at Things Mean A Lot, who brought this wonderful gem to my attention.