The Red House Mystery by A. A. Milne, a review.

The Red House Mystery

The Red House Mystery by A. A. Milne

I was surprised to learn that as well as writing Winnie The Pooh, A. A. Milne had also written an adult novel, The Red House Mystery, apparently his third I learned later.

Curious I decided to track down a copy, by mere chance I found a copy in a charity shop in Huntingdon. This particular edition was a paperback “A Rediscovered Classic” issued by The Times. The Red House Mystery was written before the Winnie The Pooh books, A. A. Milne’s more well known works.

It is an interesting book, undoubtedly, of its time, a time when the lives of ordinary people were, of no consequence. In this book like it seems so many others, murders took place in large country houses, inhabited mainly by the great, the respectable and the good. The fact that the great, the respectable and the good numbered among them the murderers doesn’t seem to be the contradiction it ought to be, perhaps just a better class of villain. The Red House Mystery  is not badly written but for me lacks pace. The plot is dependent on the unlikely as much as the probable. I had difficulty in finding the enthusiasm to continue reading and was able to put it down for long periods of time sometimes for days. It was a shame it wasn’t a better book, it could have been, should have been.

On a side note in a book that is nearly a hundred years old and reissued it should have been possible for someone competent to proof read it and remove the typos.

 

13 responses to this post.

  1. In a previous life I was a compositor. In my day (1960s) we had a large department of readers, so there was no excuse for typos. I suspect the original was recently scanned and then run through a spell checker. New technology. Tut, tut.

    Reply

  2. That was my thinking too. Bearing in mind there wouldn’t have been an electronic version before the re-issue, I imagine the typos were all introduced by the transposer or the scanning process where text recognition was low quality. Or maybe the original was grubby – coffee stains have a lot to answer for.
    Had the story been more gripping I’m sure we’d all have heard more about it in our schooldays.

    Reply

    • I don’t know what the answer is regarding the typos Cathy. As for the book itself it was definitely a dissapointment, perhaps this genre wasn’t Milne’s forte, I certainly don’t regard it in any way as a classic.

      Reply

  3. I find that a lot of books written in this era lack pace, as you say, even thinks written up to the 1950s. I’ve been recently rereading books by Priestly, Snow and others and it’s quite an effort! But thanks for this one, I’ll look it up but doubt it’s in digital format for my kindle 😂

    Reply

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