Wednesday 8 September 2010

The Red House Mystery by A.A Milne

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.


  1. It sounds fabulous I have to admit. I'm intrigued. Is it almots Columbo-ish or do you not find out that soon who dunnit?

  2. I think I read your review a little too quickly and I thought you'd written that *Pooh* was helping to solve the murder, which made a rather fantastic image in my brain :) I'm not one for murdery mysteries, but great review!

  3. How funny...I just saw this yesterday at the bookstore and was wondering whether to buy it or not. I thought I'd look up reviews when I came home but completely forgot about it. Love your review! I'll definitely have a closer look next time I see it.

  4. This sounds like a wonderful mystery novel. I don't read much in that genre either but I have started to open my eyes for it. And it would be interesting to read a crime novel written by A.A. Milne :)

  5. This sounds delightful - and would fit nicely with the RIP challenge. I hope my library has a copy available!

    Great to have you back :)

  6. I've never read anything by this author, but this book sounds like the kind I would love.

  7. I've read all the Winnie books but had no idea about this novel - away to add it to my wish list now, thanks for the recommendation Vivienne.

  8. I'd never heard of this book until Ana reviewed it. It sounds like a book I would love.

  9. I wonder why he didn't write more detective novels. Great review, Vivienne, this one should be on my list.

  10. That's so cool, I never knew he had written a book like thsi one :D

  11. Can you believe I've never read any AA Milne books, not even the Pooh books?

  12. Oh, this one looks delightful!

    Hi, Vivienne, thanks for visiting my blog today. I realized that I haven't been here in awhile, as your blog has a new look!

    It's very festive! Glad you still have the cupcakes,

  13. I'm glad to hear that this one is "delightful" as I have wanted to read it since it was mentioned in Raymond Chandler's essay which begins the collection, The Simple Art of Murder. I put that book down once I saw that it might spoil the story of The Red House Mystery and so now need to read it before I can get back to Chandler. I have reordered it from the library and it should be coming my way soon. Great review.

  14. I had no idea he had written anything other than Winnie the Pooh. Very cool!

  15. Carmen - Columbo - how I used to love watching that every afternoon when I was pregnant.

    Clover - now that would be surreal, Pooh solving a murder!LOL.

    Mrs B - it was a delightful book. Such a shame, he only ever wrote the one detective novel.

    Ladybug - I must admit that I am not usually into the crime genre, but this one did intrigue me.

    Molly - thanks, great to be back.
    Hope your library has it.

    Yvonne - knowing your love of cozy mysteries, I would say it was definitely up your street.

    Petty Witter - I don't think it is that well known. In fact, I would say it has probably been the best kept secret going.

    Kathy - I hope you like it too.

    Kaye - I wondered that too, I wonder if it wasn't that well received when it first came out.

    Blodeuedd - neither did I until Ana brought it to my attention.

    Amanda - I am going to have to admit to not reading any of them either. (Now hanging my head in shame). We actually live about an hour away from the woods that the 100 Acre Wood was based on - it is actually a tourist attraction with a Winnie the Pooh shop attached.

    Laurel - no worries. I took a bit of a break anyway. Glad you like the new look.

    Carl - I can't wait to hear your thoughts on the book. It definitely is worth reading.

    Alyce - Neither did I, but I am so glad to have read this now.

  16. Wow, those cupped cakes remind me of those cakes in some of Enid Blyton's books such as The Famous Five series. Unfortunately, despite hearing much about A.A. Milne, I have yet to read a single book of his. However, as a child, I used to read a lot of Enid Blyton's books; an aspect that was later to inspire me in writing a book on and about her, titled, The Famous Five: A Personal Anecdotage (
    Stephen Isabirye

  17. I'm a big fan of Enid Blyton since my schooling days. This must be the book for me!

  18. Who knew??? I did not know that Milne wrote anything other than Pooh books!! This sounds like one I should look into further. Nice to see you back, and nice to be back myself. :)

  19. This sounds like such a cool book - how neat that he wrote mystery books, too!


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