One of my book clubs selected The Red House Mystery by A.A. Milne, better known for being the creator of Winnie-the-Pooh. This well crafted mystery showed that A.A. Milne was not a one trick pony. This was a traditional British mystery with a full complement of “upstairs downstairs” characters set on an estate in a locked room. We have the sleuth, Antony Gillingham, and his not so sharp sidekick. There is misdirection in the form of disguise and assumed identity. Very clever mystery with dry humor and a classic feel, Agatha Christie-esque. The copy I picked up from the library is not the edition pictured, it is the 1962 edition printed by E.P. Dutton & Co., Inc and there is a wonderful dedication page from A.A. Milne to his father:
My Dear Father,
Like all really nice people, you have a weakness for detective stories, and feel that there is not enough of them. So, after all that you have done for me, the least that I can do for you is to write you one. Here it is: with more gratitude and affection than I can well put down here.
Highly recommended read!
My second read of last night was another outing in the indomitable Agatha Raisin series, Agatha Raisin and the Witch of Wyckhadden. Poor Agatha is in poor shape, unlucky in love more than once, the victim of a vengeful hairdresser and stuck in a senior living facility disguised as a hotel. Still Agatha manages to find a murder or two, trace down the clues, adopt a cat and along the way she gets some things muddled and meddles in some other people’s lives. The character of Agatha Raisin is really the star, Agatha strives for love and companionship. She wants to be liked but comes across as prickly and even high handed at times. The mystery is fun and fast paced as is the whole book. I heartily recommend this series. I do think you will appreciate it more if you read the books in order.