The Red House Mystery - A.A. Milne
AA Milne wrote this novel - his only foray into the murder mystery genre - in 1922, during the period he worked as a columnist for Punch magazine and before the Winnie-the-Pooh books were published. It's a pleasant read, with an attractive amateur sleuth hero and an entertaining if slightly dim sidekick. Much more of a why-and-howdunnit than a whodunnit (the culprit is reasonably obvious early on), the charm of the work is more in the witty prose and the clever allusions to Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson than in the mystery itself. Had it not been for the way in which the mystery is resolved, I would have been tempted to give this an extra 1/2 star. However, I have a (probably quite unreasonable) aversion to the lengthy-and-discursive-confession-by-the-culprit device. When I come across it - in this case it takes the form of a letter written by the culprit to the sleuth - it makes me a bit crazy.

I'm not sure that the adventures of Anthony (amateur sleuth) and Bill (sidekick) could have been spun into a series. In reality, probably not. Still, I'm glad that Milne had a go at the genre and I'm glad I read his effort. This was a quick and easy read and fun to share with my friend Jemidar and others in the English Mysteries Club.