Saturday, February 27, 2010

The Red House Mystery

Although A. A. Milne's name is well known as a result of his Winnie the Pooh stories, this series comprised only a portion of his written works. Among his other writings are several plays and short stories, and a mystery tale entitled, The Red House Mystery.

The Red House Mystery opens up in a boarding house, known as the Red House, in a pretty English countryside. A parlor maid and her aunt are gossiping about what took place at the breakfast table earlier that morning. According to the maid, the owner of Red House, one Mark Ablett, seems troubled by the appearance of a letter. The letter is from his brother Robert who has long been noted as a good-for-nothing, and resides in Australia, only bothering to contact his brother if he wishes to extract a loan from him. This time, his letter forewarns his brother of a coming visit to Red House, that very afternoon.

After an introduction to the other residents of the Red House, we meet a Mr. Anthony Gillingham, who has just arrived at a nearby train station. He is on a vacation, which means he is seeking out some odd thing to do for a change, such as running a countryside hotel. His friend, Bill, whom we meet among the residents of the Red House, has written to him about the place, and Anthony decides to proceed to the Red House and see what may come.

He has only just arrived, when he sees a man beating on the door of the boarding house, demanding entrance. Upon questioning him, Anthony learns that the man heard a gunshot coming from inside, and the door has been locked, preventing them from seeing what occurred.
They gain admittance through a window, and discover that, in the room where Mark and Robert were in conference, Robert lies dead upon the floor, and the owner of Red House is nowhere to be found.

With this unexpected turn of events, Anthony is very pleased to take up the occupation of a detective for a short time. He recruits Bill into helping him, and together they take on the search for Mark Ablett and the murderer.

I will give only this as a hint: the murderer is unexpected; the murdered even more so.

The Tragedy of the Pastry Pie

Once there was a pastry pie. It sat on a windowshelf. The window was open and a happy breeze blew in over the pastry pie, cooling it gently, for it was still hot from the oven. The breeze mingled the scents of the summer grass outside with the savory scent of the pie to create a pleasant odor in the warm sunny kitchen.

A bird hopped in and stood on the windowshelf. He was a brown bird, small and round, and curious.

The pastry pie sat next to him, spreading out its warm smell. The bird cocked his head and hopped a little closer to the pastry pie. And then he fell in love.

He bobbed his head and fluffed his feathers. He hopped around the windowshelf excitedly.

The pastry pie responded in kind, letting out fresh steam from a crack in its golden flaky crust.

The bird drank in the pie's pleasant breath. Then he began his dance once again. He bobbed and jumped and hopped and fluffed.

And then the cook came and took away the pastry pie.