After being wounded at the front in the first world war, A.A. Milne worked as a propagandist. Though records of his MI7b unit were ordered destroyed, some mysteriously survived. Saved from a dump in 2013, the records include poems by Milne, one a satirical verse by a Captain William Shakespeare, who is assigned to the propaganda unit. Read more about Milne's wartime service.
3. Milne was the first author to sell merchandising rights to a character. He sold the rights in 1930 to an agent who earned $50 million within a year for a Pooh doll, radio program, board game, and other paraphernalia. The mystery, though possibly of interest only to copywriters, is whether to hyphenate Winnie-the-Pooh. Milne did. The Disney company dropped the hyphens when it acquired the rights to Pooh in the 1960s.
4. Milne wrote nonfiction, novels, and poems, but he was most prolific as a writer of plays and screenplays, with about forty to his credit. Reportedly the first drama to use the inverted form of detective fiction, his 1928 play The Fourth Wall (staged in the U.S. as The Perfect Alibi) showed the audience the murder in Act I, followed by the investigation in later acts. The play's popularity resulted in its adaptation as a movie, Birds of Prey (1930), for which Milne shares the screenplay credit.
5. A.A. Milne also wrote a detective novel, The Red House Mystery, published in 1922, still in print and available as a free ebook through Project Gutenberg. The novel features an English country house setting, an amateur sleuth with a sidekick, a locked-room puzzle, and enough clues for the reader to solve the case. Read my blog post about the connection between this book and Downton Abbey.
Answer to the sports question: A.A. Milne played on a celebrity cricket team with Arthur Conan Doyle, J.M. Barrie, and P.G. Wodehouse. Cricket is a mystery to me, as it is to many Americans. If you know of a brief, clear explanation of the game, please tell me where to find it.
This blog, like the books and stories I write, combines mysteries, food, trivia, and a bit of humor to leaven the grim subject of crime. Sometimes random subjects intrude here .