My Review (4 stars out of 5)
A country house becomes a crime scene when the host’s brother is found murdered. Visiting a friend who’s staying at the house, Antony Gillingham fancies himself as an amateur sleuth. With his pal Bill (also a guest at the house), he sets out to solve the mystery.
Best known for his Winnie-the-Pooh books, this is one of several novels penned by Milne and I believe is his only murder/mystery. I originally bought a paperback edition but soon found it impossible to read due to the ridiculously small typeface, so ended up with an eBook version (the Xist Classics edition which also includes a book club leadership guide and discussion questions).
The story is a clever one with the hero (Gillingham) taking on a Sherlock-Holmes type role, with his friend Bill as Watson. The dialogue is of the ‘I say, old chap,’ variety, though for the most part is amusing and generally believable given the type of characters portrayed. The plot is ingenious, with lots of dead ends and possibilities, and the denouement (to me, at least) unexpected. Having said that, Raymond Chandler termed the plot ‘implausible’ and thought the likelihood of the detective in charge allowing a stranger to run around the place looking for clues was just a bit silly. Nevertheless, I thoroughly enjoyed it and think it well-deserving of a place in the annals of detective fiction.