A. A. Milne
A. A. (Alan Alexander) Milne (1882 - 1956), English writer of wide-ranging variety, now remembered almost entirely for four books of children's stories and poems, many featuring the character Winnie the Pooh. The process had already begun within his lifetime, to his considerable annoyance.
He first came to fame as a humorist, and was a contributor to Punch (as was the cartoonist E. H. Shepard, who went on to illustrate his Pooh books). He also achieved considerable success as a playwright, and wrote several successful novels. The detective novel The Red House Mystery was quite successful in its day, though now is mainly remembered for having been held up by Raymond Chandler, along with Murder on the Orient Express, as an exemplar of ludicrous whodunnit plotting. Two of his short stories were adapted for Alfred Hitchcock Presents.
There may be a Moral, though some say not
I think there's a moral, though I don't know what.
- Bookcase Passage: In The Red House Mystery the Amateur Sleuth comes to the conclusion that there must be a secret passage from the eponymous Red House to a nearby pavilion. But where in the house does it start? Well, it had better not be in the servant's quarters, because he can't go there without raising suspicion. And the same goes for the master bedroom and other guests' bedrooms and so on. In the end, the only place where he can go look without looking suspicious turns out to be the library. So he looks in the library, and sure enough, there it is! Behind a bookshelf and all.
- Call a Rabbit a Smeerp: Played for laughs in The Ugly Duckling.
- Engagement Challenge: Parodied in The Ugly Duckling (in which the challenge is deliberately easy because the princess isn't a beauty and her parents don't want to have to turn down anybody willing to take her) and Once On A Time (in which the suitor knows an easy way to complete the task but decides to make it look difficult so as to impress the King).
- Excuse Question: In the play The Ugly Duckling, the law of the kingdom requires a suitor for the hand of the princess to answer a riddle. The current princess is very plain, and her parents, not wanting to give anyone an excuse to turn her down, use riddles like "What is it which has four legs and barks like a dog?" This is Played for Laughs in multiple ways. Early in the play, the king and queen recall one suitor who was so desperate not to marry the princess that he somehow completely failed to answer the riddle. Later, a none-too-bright prince who's an impostor anyway is given the answer in advance, but the riddle is changed at the last minute and he gets it wrong. Another character (the real prince) quickly covers for him.
- Fractured Fairy Tale: The Ugly Duckling
- Henpecked Husband: The king in The Ugly Duckling.
- Just the Introduction to The Opposites: "Disobedience"
- Playing Cyrano: In The Ugly Duckling, the hero and heroine both use one.
- Sleeping Dummy: In The Red House Mystery, Anthony and Bill do this before going off to tail a suspect at night, so that the suspect (who is staying in the same house as they are) won't realize they're onto him. Bill is pretty proud of his sleeping dummy, but Anthony's is so convincing that it even fools Bill.
- Two-Person Love Triangle: in The Ugly Duckling
- The Watson: Heavily lampshaded in The Red House Mystery, where the Amateur Sleuth Anthony outright asks his friend Bill to play Watson to his Holmes, specifically defining Bill's role as asking stupid questions and needing even the most obvious things explained to him. And indeed, this is what Bill does -- but half the time he's asking the questions because Anthony tells him to rather than because he's actually incapable of figuring out the answers, and sometimes he gets fed up with his friend's Sherlockian pretensions.