“THERE WAS A DARK STAIN WHICH SHOWED WHERE THE DEAD MAN’S HEAD HAD BEEN”
MILNE, A. A. The Red House Mystery. London: Methuen, (1922). Octavo, original green cloth. $450.
First edition of Milne’s only detective novel.
Before the creation of Winnie the Pooh, Milne had a successful career writing plays and novels. "Mr. Milne has written only one bona fide detective story, The Red House Mystery (1922), but this single work did much in its time to keep alive the naturalism of E.C. Bentley until Berkeley and MacDonald arrived on the scene a year or two later. Moreover, light-hearted [amateur detective] Antony Gillingham anticipated importantly the long line of humorous sleuths, both British and American, who have mingled murder most foul with jollity… The detective story had been treated with some degree of lightness and humor before, but The Red House Mystery was the first novel really to go all out for what H. Douglas Thomson has described as the 'what fun!' type of crime fiction" (Haycraft, 151). "After a 15-year absence in Australia, Robert—Mark Ablett's black-sheep brother—returns to England and is shot to death. Inexplicably, Mark disappears from his home, the red house of the title, even though it is believed that he must have shot his brother in self-defense. Since the local police are baffled, the light-hearted Gillingham and Bill Beverley, who narrates the adventure, set about to solve the case" (Steinbrunner & Penzler, 288). Eight-page publisher's catalogue bound at rear. Without rare original dust jacket. Barzun & Taylor 2504. Cutler & Stiles, 115.
Interior generally fine, expert reinforcement to text block; mild toning and soiling to cloth, gilt bright. An extremely good copy.