Tag Archives: A.A. Milne

Booking Through Thursday – Thankful Thursday

Booking Through Thursday

A weekly meme.

This weeks question:

It’s Thanksgiving in the U.S.A. today, so I know at least some of you are going to be as busy with turkey and family as I will be, so this week’s question is a simple one:

What books and authors are you particularly thankful for this year?

This year I’m thankful for Alan Bennett and his wonderful Uncommon Reader which was short but sweet and made me smile. I keep forgetting it’s fiction and keep thinking of the Queen as this lovely bookaholic lady.

A close second would be Neville Shute for A Town Like Alice which has a leading lady I really admired.

I was swept away by Wilkie Collins’ sensational Armadale which features possibly the best femme fatale ever written, and was shocked by Lloyd Jones’ Mister Pip which I finally got around to reading!

And finally for a bit of mystery and suspense, Sophie Hannah for her brilliant thrillers, A.A.Milne for a good old fashioned murder mystery and Tom Rob Smith for one of the most gripping books I’ve read this year.

What books and authors are you thankful for this year?

The Red House Mystery by A.A.Milne

I discovered the existence of this novel by accident while reading up on Winnie the Pooh (as you do) and decided I had to have a copy. So I got my mitts on a bargain from eBay and revelled in reading a real old-fashioned murder mystery on my daily commute.

The first thing that struck me as I opened my battered copy, was the lovely dedication to Milne’s father at the start of the book:

Like all really nice people, you have a weakness for detective stories, and feel that there are not enough of them. So after all that you have done for me, the least I can do for you is to write one. Here it is: with more gratitude and affection than I can well put down here.

A.A.M.

It reminded me of something I read about John Buchan’s Thirty-Nine Steps, where he said that there weren’t enough of a certain kind of adventure stories so he wrote one! And then I felt sad, as in my copy, a re-print it had a further note alluding to the fact that Milne’s father died before he was able to read it. It seems as if Milne enjoyed writing for people very much which makes me feel that his stories are quite special.

The story itself is a typical mystery with an English country house setting. The Red House, belongs to Mark Ablett, and it is the scene for the dramatic murder of his brother Robert, who is something of a black sheep and has just arrived from Australia to visit Mark. Robert is found dead in a locked room on the day that Tony Gillingham decides to visit his friend Bill who also lives at the house. Tony and Bill decide to investigate.

I really enjoyed reading The Red House Mystery. Tony and Bill make the perfect Holmes-Watson partnership unravelling the many clues, and it was great to just read something a bit fun. I enjoyed Milne’s writing and found that I could see echos of Pooh Bear about Bill. At times Tony is a little arch in his manner but that’s part of what makes the dialogue between the two characters so entertaining. Tony, an amateur detective with a photographic memory ponders;

“Of course it’s very hampering being a detective, when you don’t know anything about detecting, and when nobody knows that you’re doing detecting, and you can’t have people up to cross-examine them, and you neither have the energy or the means to make proper inquiries; and in short, when you’re doing the whole thing in a thoroughly amateur, haphazard way.”

It’s an entertaining journey trying to figure out has happened, and it’s possible to guess at least half of the situation from the clues while being kept in the dark enough to be surprised. What really makes it a joy to read though is Milne’s unique voice.

The Red House Mystery is the perfect book to snuggle up with on a cold night with a cup of mulled wine or hot tea.

Oh and you can read most of it for free on Google reader (although I think there are some missed pages), or get a taster to see if you want to buy a copy.

Have you read anything else by A.A.Milne?

Bookish Acquisition – A. A. Milne’s The Red House Mystery

A. A. MilneI was thinking the other day about how I love Winnie the Pooh (tiddly-pom…) and decided to read more about A. A. Milne on the internet. To my surprise I discovered that he had also written quite a few other novels including a mystery which I thought sounded right up my street. So I had a quick look on eBay and found a 1939 copy of The Red House Mystery, originally published in 1922. Here’s a little synopsis from Wikipedia;

The setting is bachelor Mark Ablett’s English country house loaded with guests, including a British major, a wilful actress, and a young jock athlete. Mark’s long-lost brother Robert, the black sheep of the family, arrives from Australia and is found murdered in a locked room. Mark Ablett has disappeared so Tony Gillingham and his friend Bill decide to investigate, progressing almost playfully through the novel while the clues mount up the theories abound.

A willful actress, a black sheep, a murder…doesn’t it sound quite wonderfully exciting?!

Anyway, I can’t wait to receive my copy in the post Red House(Royal Mail strikes permitting) and find out what A. A. Milne’s other writing was like. You can still get The Red House Mystery new and judging from the reviews on Amazon apparently it’s quite good! I will be posting my own thoughts once i’ve got my mitts on it.

Have you come across lesser-known novels by famous authors that you enjoyed?