Introduced by Ann Thwaite
Illustrated by Mark Thomas
From the pen that brought you Winnie-the-Pooh and When We Were Very Young comes this tale of murder, deceit, jealousy and croquet.
When ne’er-do-well Robert Ablett is found dead at his brother’s idyllic country house, a crime of passion or an unfortunate accident seem the most obvious explanations. But to dapper would-be sleuth Antony Gillingham, the death – and the baffling disappearance of the man of the house – suggests a far stranger story. Eagerly assisted by his friend Bill Beverley – the Watson to his Holmes – Gillingham sets out to discover the truth.
This was A. A. Milne’s first and last – though successful – true venture into crime writing, a genre he declared a passion for. Light-hearted and gently suspenseful, The Red House Mystery is brilliantly crafted to offer the reader pleasure in both following Gillingham’s methods and attempting to outwit him. As Milne notes in his introduction, the crime writer has two choices when conveying the detective’s thought process – to ‘watsonise or soliloquise’. Milne opts for the former, and in doing so creates two endearing characters who contrast and complement one another as they investigate croquet-boxes, uncover secret passages and deploy sleeping dummies as cover for moonlit expeditions. With sharp dialogue and a cast of engaging characters, this is a delightful caper for lovers of golden-age crime fiction, A. A. Milne fans and anyone who appreciates a lively, ingenious mystery.
This edition features an introduction by Milne’s biographer Ann Thwaite, and Milne’s own original 1926 introduction. Mark Thomas, whose work also appears in the Folio editions of The Floating Admiral and The Princess Bride, has created a series of stylish colour images, as well as integrated black and white illustrations. Also new to this edition is a plan of the eponymous house, devised by Thwaite and drawn by Thomas.
A. A. Milne (1882–1956) was born in London and attended Westminster School and Trinity College, Cambridge. At university he edited Granta and in 1904 had his first piece published in Punch. In 1915 Milne volunteered and was commissioned into the Warwickshire Regiment as a signals officer. In 1916 he was invalided home from the Somme and spent the last part of the war in Intelligence. Milne was an extremely successful playwright, whose titles include Mr Pim Passes By (1919), The Dover Road (1921) and Toad of Toad Hall (1929). His best-known works are his two collections of children’s poetry, When We Were Very Young (1924) and Now We Are Six (1927), and most famously his two books Winnie-the-Pooh (1926) and The House at Pooh Corner (1928).
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Review by anon on 4th Mar 2017
"Wonderful!.......by far the best novel of its type I have ever read. Such a shame Milne wrote no others."