The Red House Mystery by A. A. Milne (1922)

Murder mysteries make death engaging and amusing. That is an amazing feat. Death especially in the states is almost a taboo thing. It has deep emotional and religious ties which make it hard to talk about seriously. If death is difficult, murder should an impossible conversation piece. One could reasonably argue that murder is the worst form of death. Murder exist in a dark cloud of resentment, revenge and fear. Yet I declare that murder mysteries are fun and entertaining. Somehow by focusing on the means and motives of murder we create the illusion of a puzzle and obscure the actual macabre nature of the killing. I have no doubt that a personal brush with murder would leave me confused and drowning with fear. Why then do books featuring brilliant detectives excite me? My hypocrisy is fascinating.

Antony Gillingham accidentally stumbles into a murder the same way you might accidentally step in a puddle coming home on a rainy night. A man is killed in a locked room without any indication of suicide or motive. The brother of the murdered man is missing and so is the revolver. Antony decides in a flippant way to try his hand at detecting. Convincing his friend Bill to play Watson while he channels Sherlock the pair attempt to get to the bottom of The Red House Mystery.

 

free ebook download: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/1872

free audiobook download: https://librivox.org/the-red-house-mystery-by-a-a-milne/

Jill the Reckless by P.G. Wodehouse (1920)

Another superb comedy authored by Mr. Wodehouse. Just when a thread starts to tangle it gets stitched back in seamlessly making you wonder how you didn’t see its inevitable conclusion earlier. The dialogue is quaint, quick, snappy and a real treat. No chapter feels forced and everything moves along at the pace of a happy golden retriever. Jill the Reckless is a ripe and refreshing little tale.

You begin at the beginning with Jill slated to meet her fiances mother, a cruel and usual woman. Through a series of mistakes and mishaps Jill makes a dreadful mess of this introduction and all of Mrs. Underhills fears are realized in the tiny stature that is Jill Mariner. From here we glide to and fro following Jill as she tries to make her way in the world. Jill must rely on her sharp wit and reckless instinct to make the best of every unforeseen situation. Quickly sneak out the back with Jill the Reckless.

 

free audiobook download: https://librivox.org/jill-the-reckless-by-p-g-wodehouse/

free ebook download: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/20533

The Secret Adversary by Agatha Christie (1922)

I feel kind of bad writing about this book. Not that the book is bad. In fact, it is fantastic and I loved every moment I spent reading it. On the other hand, it feels too easy to recommend  an Agatha Christie book since she is one of the greatest selling authors of all time. But I digress. I loved it and that’s that.
Tommy and Tuppence are a wonderful one, two punch precisely because it is impossible to tell who is one and who is two. They are comrades and companions that rely on each other unlike say the Holmes and Watson pairing. I always felt that Holmes had the ability to solve any case by his lonesome and in many cases he did. But what makes it all the more wonderful is that the running dialogue between Tommy and Tuppence is fantastic. I’m always a sucker for witty dialogue and this is just about the best. They remind me vaguely of another witty and conversational couple: Nero Wolfe and Archie Goodwin. To not be outdone the story itself is also thrilling and leaves the best mystery until the end. So pick up a copy of The Secret Adversary. 

free ebook download: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/1155