The Red House Mystery – A.A. Milne

Long long ago, not so very far away, I read this, completely delighted by the fact that the creator of Winnie-the-Pooh wrote a murder mystery. I loved it then, and so was happy when The Red House Mystery was chosen as a book of the month for the Goodreads English Mysteries Club.

Unfortunately, I didn’t love the reread so much.

The writing was fun, with occasional Pooh-ish moments –

“Perhaps it was true that inspectors liked dragging ponds, but the question was, Did Cayleys like having them dragged?”

– But there were a great many moments that stopped me cold, thinking Sorry, what was that now? The latitude the amateur detective is given is a figment of the mystery writer’s imagination; the ineptitude of the constabulary in their failure to make certain surely routine checks and confirmations was absurd; parts of the mystery itself were more than a little silly.

But still. As a light and undemanding read it was enjoyable. In fact, it rather has to be read as undemanding, the sort of thing you just settle in with a cup of tea and enjoy without questioning. If you think about it too much it all falls apart.

 

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