The Red House Mystery by A. A. Milne
I've been a great admirer of A. A. Milne's work since I was a very young child. In fact, his stories from The Hundred Acre Wood are the reason I imagined I could be an author one day. The characters of Pooh, Piglet, Eeyore, Rabbit, Owl, Tigger, Kanga, and Roo gave me all the information I needed about the kind of person I wanted to become... and the kinds of stories I wanted to write. But what I didn't realize was that there was so much more to Mr. Milne and his writing life.
In college, I learned that he wrote for periodicals... serialized stories and non-fiction, for newspapers and magazines... but I didn't know he was also a novelist. Recently, while fooling around on the Internet, I came across a story about his novel, The Red House Mystery. I was shocked. I thought I'd read nearly everything he ever wrote. Somehow, I missed this big milestone in his writing repertoire.
So, I went to the Guttenburg Project website, to see if I could find it... and I did! It's in the public domain! Imagine my elation at discovering I could read this piece of my hero's history! I downloaded it immediately, and began reading. Thank goodness for e-books. Say what you will, but when you have a strong pull to read a book, you just don't want to wait for shipping, even if delivery is promised for the next day.
I was immediately sucked into this story. It's a "closed room" mystery, in the style of Agatha Christie. It's also a tremendous homage to Arthur Conan Doyle, as the characters "impersonate" Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson as they try to ferret out the answer to the riddle.
I enjoyed the layers of details, and the little clues left along the way. I found myself trying to figure out the mystery before Milne revealed it... and after all, isn't that what a great mystery novel is all about? Honestly, although I was able to piece some of it together before the last two chapters, there were surprises at the end that I did not expect.
This was a compelling, quick read, Even though I really took my time to digest all the tiny bits (because I knew they'd be important to the ending), I still finished it in about seven hours.
It was a complete delight to discover a new, old book by my hero author! It makes me wonder if he's got anything else out there I don't know about? I will have to spend some more time going down that research rabbit hole!
I highly recommend this book... especially if you enjoy solving puzzles.
Oh, and I found it on Amazon, and have added the physical book to my "book buy me" list!
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