Our mystery author....
(and I mean that literally) is
Who knew - certainly not me - that the creator of Winnie the Pooh (well done, M., for getting the clue - from the game of Poohsticks in The House at Pooh Corner) also had a career as a writer of detective fiction (well done, Carol, for nailing the genre). The quotes are from "A Perfectly Ordinary Case of Blackmail," which I stumbled across in an anthology our next door neighbor sent home with us (along with a stack of her children's old Puffins and Penguins) on Boxing Day. Milne's story is copyright 1948, and was reprinted in a 1952 Ellery Queen Magazine.
And now, the other mystery to be revealed:
Designated name-drawer Eight has returned from hockey practice, and come up with
Diary of a Provincial Lady had the most mentions in the comments, including one from you. So which will it be, Karen: Anna Pavord's The Tulip (on Sherry's list) Elizabeth Zimmerman's Knitting Without Tears (on Charlotte's)? Choose your prize, please!
Thank you all for playing - and especially to Steve and Quinn for contributing, as Quinn put it, "total nonsense."
ETA: Karen, who has very well-stocked bookshelves (see the comments), has graciously stepped off the winner's podium . So back we went for another name: and it's Tracy, who blogs about woollies and wellies. A copy of The Tulip will be headed her way. Congratulations, Tracy - and thanks, Karen.