I received this book for free from my own shelves in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Partners in Crime by Agatha Christie
Genres: Mystery, British, Historical
Published by William Morrow Paperbacks on May 31, 2005
Source: my own shelves
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Also by this author: The Mysterious Affair at Styles , And Then There Were None, The Mysterious Affair at Styles, The Secret Adversary, The Unexpected Guest
Second in the Tommy and Tuppence historical British detective mystery series (first published 7 June 1929) and revolving around the Beresfords and their boredom. It’s been six years since The Secret Adversary, 1.
I suppose you could claim this as an omnibus of short stories, as it is a slew of cases that the couple solve, but Christie weaves it together so well as a single story. Part of Christie’s schtick is to use the styles of various fictional detectives.
It’s true. Men simply have no sense of the nuance of style. Just ask Tommy. Or, rather, ask Tuppence about her 40 hats.
Seriously though, Tommy, Tuppence, and Albert are about to embark on an adventurous “vacation” with none of the requirements of earning a living at the request of Mr Carter.
Using third person dual protagonist point-of-view from Tommy’s and Tuppence’s perspectives, Christie pokes fun at the class system and ambitions and its hypocrisy. The prejudiced view of non-English people could be part of that poking or could simply be a reflection of the times.
It’s action-packed with some interesting characters and a low-key humor from this pair of detectives.
Tuppence and Tommy are having way too much fun in this, and yet that ending is a pip.
Mr Blunt has been quite the naughty boy and is currently having assorted conversations with Scotland Yard. Meanwhile, Intelligence wants the International Detective Agency to continue to operate, hoping they can intercept the bad guys.
Tommy and Tuppence née Cowley Beresford have been married for the past six years. Tommy works at the dull and boring Secret Service while Tuppence is, sigh, a housewife who knits. Albert Batt, the former lift-boy at Mrs Vandemeyer’s building, now works as the Beresfords’ butler, soon to be their office boy. Alice is a housemaid? Aunt Araminta gave them a patent corkscrew.
The International Detective Agency is/was . . .
. . . managed by Theodore Blunt. His position will be taken over by Tommy in a variety of personas. Tuppence will technically be Miss Robinson, who will also assume a variety of personas.
A Pot of Tea
Lawrence St Vincent, nephew and heir of the Earl of Cheriton, is looking for Jeanette, a.k.a. Nurse Jane Smith, who works at Madame Violette’s hat shop.
It’s cute and sneaky with a bit of tension stirred in by Tuppence.
The Affair of the Pink Pearl
Miss Beatrice Kingston Bruce and her father, Colonel Kingston Bruce, live at the Laurels, Edgeworth Road, Wimbledon, and are concerned about a jewel theft. Lady Laura Barton is the daughter of the late Earl of Carrowway and a friend of the Kingston Bruces; Elise is her French maid. The Hamilton Betts are American friends. Gladys Hill is the parlourmaid. Alice Cummings is the housemaid. Mr Rennie is an arrant socialist.
Christie was leading me into the wrong deduction!
The Adventure of the Sinister Stranger
Gregor Feodorsky is anxious for news of his wife. Dr Charles Bowers is frustrated with numerous false calls only to return to a ransacked office. the extravagant, idle Bertram and the hardworking Henry are the nephews living with the doctor.
Detective Inspector Dymchurch claims to be a friend of Marriot’s; Coggins and Vassilly are his associates.
Finessing the King and the Gentleman Dressed in Newspaper
Captain “Bingo” Hale is involved in the murder of the Queen of Hearts, Vere, Lady Merivale. Sir Arthur Merivale is her husband.
And it all revolves around those newspaper dots.
The Case of the Missing Lady
A case too similar to the disappearance of Lady Frances Carfax. Gabriel Stavansson is engaged to the widowed Mrs Maurice Leigh Gordon, a.k.a. Hermione, the second daughter of Lord Lanchester. Lady Susan Clonray is Hermione’s aunt. By the way, Stavansson HATES fat women. Dr Horriston runs the Grange, a nursing home.
Tense and dramatic, until the end and its truth, lol.
The Duke of Blairgowrie and his friend Captain Harker. Gregory is the duke’s chauffeur.
The Man in the Mist
Oh, oh, the Beresfords screwed up on that missing pearl necklace. Marvyn “Bulger” Estcourt is an old friend of Tommy’s. Miss Gilda Glen, a famous actress, is the most beautiful (and the stupidest) woman in England. Miss Glen is engaged to Lord Leconbury. The red-haired James Reilly is a poet and a jerk. Mr Marvell is Reilly’s solicitor. Mrs Honeycott runs the White House where Ellen is a maid.
Another sneaky ending, and even then I had to re-read it a few times!
Major Laidlaw is into racing and gambling. I think M. Heroulade is Marguerite Laidlaw‘s father. Captain Jimmy Faulkener is an immature young man, easily led. Hank Ryder is extremely wealthy and is concerned with Marguerite’s money worries.
That bit with the chalk cross on the door was quite clever. And it reminds me of another mystery in this general time period . . . that I can’t for the life of me remember.
The Sunningdale Mystery
Captain Anthony Sessle was a well-known golfer. Mrs Sessle is away on a trip. Mr Hollaby is his friend and partner in the Porcupine Assurance Co. Major Barnard and Mr Lecky are fellow golfers — and witnesses. Doris Evans is a typist who met a man who invited her to the cinema.
This was a clever mystery and so easy to solve it . . . once I knew the answer, lol.
The House of Lurking Death
Lois Hargreaves lives at Thurnly Grange where they are receiving a box of poisoned chocolates. Her aunt, Lady Radclyffe, had left the house to Lois to the consternation of Captain Dennis Radclyffe, the husband’s nephew. Mrs Holloway is the cook; her niece Rose is the kitchenmaid; Hannah is Lois’ lady’s maid; Esther Quant is the parlourmaid; and, Miss Logan had been Aunt Lucy’s companion. Mary Chilcott is an old school friend of Lois’.
Phew. This was a nasty, twisty mess.
The Unbreakable Alibi
Montgomery Jones is a terrible speller; his mother was Lady Aileen Montgomery who married a rich man, Mr Jones. Una Drake is keen on mysteries. Marjory Leicester is her flatmate. Mr le Marchant is a friend of Jones’. Dicky Rice saw Una in Devonshire, as did the Oglanders. Mr Sago/Tapioca/? saw Una around tea time.
It is a clever puzzle, but oh, lord. I’d hate to have to talk to Jones. He’s so all over the place.
The Clergyman’s Daughter and the Red House
Monica Deane and her mother are in dire straits until Monica inherits what is meant to be a fortune with the Red House when an aunt dies. Gerald is a poor engineer whom Monica loves. The well-to-do Mr Partridge has offered for Monica. Crockett had been the aunt’s servant. Dr O’Neill, a member of the Society for Physical Research, suggests poltergeists and offers to buy the house. Mrs Lumley is the cook at the inn.
Tuppence reminds us that she had been a clergyman’s daughter.
Another pip using codes, country customs, treasure hunting, and grand larceny.
The Ambassador’s Boots
Randolph Wilmott is the US Ambassador to the Court of St James. Richards is his valet. Senator Ralph Westerham is the gentleman who noticed his kitbag missing. Eileen O’Hara is a dainty, foreign-looking lady. Cicely March, who runs a beauty parlour, Cyclamen Ltd, answers the ad.
The Man Who was No. 16
Prince Vladiroffsky is concerned about a friend’s daughter. Sergius could be a traitor. Tuppence, a.k.a. Miss Robinson, becomes Marise. Mrs Cortlandt Van Snyder of Detroit is supposed to be in a suite. M Paul de Vareze was an invalid Frenchman with a nurse.
Detective personas used include Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson; Dr Thorndyke and Polton; Desmond and Francis Okewood; Bulldog Drummond and criminal genius Carl Peterson; McCarty incog and Dennis Riordan; Thornley Colton is the blind Problemist, Fee, alias Shrimp, and Miss Ganges; Sydney Thames; Edgar Wallace; Miss Polly Burton; Inspector Hanaud; Inspector French; Roger Sheringham; Dr Reginald Fortune and Superintendent Bell; and, Hercule Poirot.
Mr Carter is the Chief with Intelligence. Detective Inspector Marriot and Inspector Grace are with Scotland Yard as are Constables Evans and Clydesly. Dr Brady is a friend?? General Francis Haviland is a perfect a**.
The Cover and Title
The cover is an even milk chocolate brown with all the text in white. A small red tab in the upper left corner contains the series info. Next to it is an info blurb. Below this is the author’s name. Below this is a tumbling pair of dice with red and black dots on white with a pair of shadows. A round red badge with a white outline on the right provides authorization information. Starting over the dice shadows is the title and below that is a repeat of the series info.
The title is about this pair of Partners in Crime — Tommy and Tuppence Beresford.