A. A. Milne’s detective wisdom

From the Introduction to The Red House:

“On the great Love question opinions may be divided, but for myself I will have none of it. A reader, all agog to know whether the white substance on the muffins was arsenic or face-powder, cannot be held up while Roland clasps Angela’s hand “a moment longer than the customary usages of society dictate.” Much might have happened in that moment, properly spent; foot-prints made or discovered; cigarette-ends picked up and put in envelopes. By all means let Roland have a book to himself in which to clasp anything he likes, but in a detective story he must attend strictly to business.”

“And now, what about a Watson? Are we to have a Watson? We are. Death to the the author who keeps his unravelling for the last chapter, making all the other chapters but a prologue to a five-minute drama. This is no way to write a story. Let us know from chapter to chapter what the detective is thinking. For this he must wastonize or soliloquize; the one is merely a dialogue form of the other, and, by that, more readable. A Watson, then, but not of necessity a fool of a Watson.”

 

Any volunteers to be my Watson? It would be most helpful

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