The Red House Mystery Paperback – December 17, 2011
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''Though Milne is immediately associated with Winnie-the-Pooh and pals, he nonetheless wrote a number of adult titles, including this 1922 novel in which guests at a country estate become amateur sleuths when a shooting occurs and all evidence points toward their host.'' --Library Journal
About the Author
- Publisher : Empire Books; Reprint edition (December 17, 2011)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 228 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1619491354
- ISBN-13 : 978-1619491359
- Lexile measure : 710L
- Item Weight : 10.9 ounces
- Dimensions : 6 x 0.52 x 9 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #442,657 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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Don't you love these country homes where the doors and windows stand open so the casual passer-by gets drawn in. I guess it's an era in British history where a stranger is invited to stay because he knows one of the other guests, and they all behave according to a high code of honor. The country house of the golden age sub-genre is as fascinating as the locked room.
As I was near the end I realized there is one pivotal clue, that of a collar, that couldn't be used today. Otherwise, what a magnificent plot! I highly recommend this for anyone who loves a good mystery that takes a lot of deductive reasoning to solve. It would be fantastic if someone could adapt this mystery for the 21st century.
The plot is complex. To the point that I realized after starting it that I had read it years ago, but couldn't remember the solution. I wish Milne had made a series of it, as I enjoyed our amateur sleuth and his sidekick. There are some parts that drag a bit, but overall, a jolly good read.
A man sits down in his brother's office in a manor house and is left there to wait for his brother. Moments later, the door is closed and locked meaning the brother must have entered the room and locked it. Moments later, there is a gunshot. The others in the house, where there are several guests go searching for a way in and discover the french doors are unlocked. On entry, they find the waiting man dead, and the man of the house disappeared completely.
A friend of one of the guests arrives, and the two men do a passable Holmes and Watson style investigation. Eventually of course, they get near enough the truth that the whole ball of twine unravels. The ending is definitely typical of the crime novels of the time (the book was published in 1922).
This is a remarkably tightly plotted book. Milne is pretty up front. He shows you all of the important clues. It's rather an ingeniously plotted murder.
The book is quite good. If you enjoy the "British Manor House" type of mystery and Agatha Christie, you'll probably enjoy this, too. I did.
Top reviews from other countries
Set in 1922, the action takes place in the Red House, home of Mark Ablett. Mark is hosting a house party with an eclectic collection of guests. At breakfast, Mark announces that his long, lost brother, Robert is arriving that day. Robert is what can be described as a ne'er do well and he and Mark have been estranged for many years. Later that day, a doorbell is rung, an argument is heard, a shot fired and the body of Robert discovered. Mark is missing. Can Anthony Gillingham and his friend Bill Beverley discover who the murderer is? Where is Mark Ablett? And how exactly did the murderer commit the crime and then make his escape whilst the door was locked?
This was an enjoyable hoot! Set during a house party, it had all the elements I enjoy in a classic crime novel; an Edwardian house, an impossible crime, secret passages, a midnight adventure and two friends solving the crime and having plenty of japes in the process. Gillingham and Beverley are a a great pairing. Gillingham is playful, whilst Bill is more solid and steady, the perfect foil to Gillingham. In fact, much mention is made of the pair being like Holmes and Watson. They adopt both of these roles very well and it is an honest nod to the novels of Arthur Conan Doyle.
The crime is ingenious, and even though Gillingham is onto the murderer quite early on into the novel, choosing to share this with neither Bill nor the reader, it is fascinating to watch him piece the puzzles together.
This would be a perfect read for fans of Agatha Christie and those who really enjoy a good locked door mystery.
This is a charming book, much better than I thought it would be. My only complaint is that I worked out who the murderer was fairly quickly. The whole book is a little tongue in cheek, almost as though Milne were merely trying out the genre as a writing exercise. However, saying that, it is a very enjoyable read and comparable with other mystery books written at the time. Had Milne decided to carry the books into a series, I think he could have been very successful. However, he obviously went on to other things, so it is lucky that we do have this book to sample what he could produce as a crime writer.
Mark has guests staying at the Red House and wants them out of the way for a while as his ne'er-do-well brother, Robert is arriving from Australia. Gunshots are heard shortly after Robert's arrival and when the room is broken into Robert is found lying dead on the carpet. Mark and the gun however are nowhere in sight. Antony Gillingham is in the vicinity and on a whim decides to visit his friend Bill, who is staying at the Red House. Antony arrives on the scene as the corpse is discovered and becomes interested. As the police put out a warrant for Mark's arrest and he is looked for Antony and Bill decide to do a bit of sleuthing themselves. Can our intrepid duo find anything that the police may have overlooked?
With a dead body, a secret passage and suspicious activities by Mark's secretary, is there indeed another answer to the crime? Will our erstwhile Holmes and Watson be able to solve it? Although this is a very well written little novel and is really enjoyable it is let down in that it is easy to work out the solution to the crime. Despite that though I did thoroughly enjoy reading this and would recommend it to anyone who wants to while away a few hours. This would be a good book to relax in the garden with or whilst on holiday.