The Red House

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Short Story

First published: 1929

Tommy & Tuppence

Synopsis

The Red House

Tommy and Tuppence investigate a poltergeist which is plaguing a guesthouse run by mother and daughter. From Partners in Crime.

More about this story

The Clergyman's Daughter and The Red House are in fact two parts of the same story, so they share this story information page.

An old aunt has left Monica Deane and her mother a large house but no means by which to maintain it. The mother and daughter want to keep the lovely home, but find it necessary to take in lodgers to keep the place up. Unfortunately, the house seems to be inhabited by poltergeists, which makes it difficult to keep lodgers. The Deanes become besieged by a prospective buyer, who seems too anxious to buy the “haunted” house. When Tommy and Tuppence investigate they find not only the spiteful spirits, but the reason the prospective buyer is so anxious to own the house.

This adventure is handled in the style of Roger Sheringham, the vain, talkative detective created by A. B. Cox (1893-1970). Sheringham is noted for solving cases that involve several complicated puzzles. In his first book, The Layton Court Mystery (1925), for example, he proves that a “suicide” is in fact a locked-room murder.

A.B. Cox was the founder of The Detection Club, of which Christie was a member. Their aim was to be the “keeper of the flame” of mystery writing standards. Cox’s most famous books are Malice Aforethought (1931) and Before the Fact (1932), both written under the pseudonym Francis Isles.

This story was published by Collins in the collection Partners in Crime, 1929. It was also adapted for the 1983 TV series Agatha Christie’s Partners in Crime, with Francesca Annis and James Warwick. The setting was changed slightly to an inherited manor house, and only included the character of the daughter.

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