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.The Secret Adversary by Agatha Christie
Genres: Mystery, British, Thriller
Published by Amazon Digital on January 1922
Source: my own shelves
Buy on Amazon
Also by this author: The Mysterious Affair at Styles , And Then There Were None, The Mysterious Affair at Styles, The Unexpected Guest, Partners in Crime
First in the Tommy & Tuppence Mysteries series and revolving around a couple of people with nothing to lose in this post-war mystery.
I’ve loved the Tommy and Tuppence series for ever and hate to confess that I thought it was a John Creasey series. Oops.
I gotta say Tuppence is quite imaginative, and Tommy appears to balance her freer spirit. I did crack up when she entices Albert into helping her out with Rita, lol. As for her plans to snag a millionaire, well, who could blame her!?
Christie is such a tease, promoting various characters as the bad guy and making it all seem quite possible. There’s even a villain speech at the end, not that it’ll do much good. Well, except to elucidate the reader!
It is fun to read of this time period and the twists the characters must go through to communicate with each other.
It’s both action- and character-driven with animated people and hand-rubbing evil, as the protagonists chase the antagonists . . . and vice versa! Going undercover, being taken prisoner, escaping, and running down clues. It’s especially fun since these two amateurs do what the pros cannot!
Christie uses third person global subjective point-of-view, primarily from Tuppence’s and Tommy’s perspectives but we must include Julius as a secondary perspective.
While it is a fun, easy read, Christie leaves a few gaps and twists back on herself, leaving me wondering how I missed a few things.
Post-war and there are no jobs as Tommy and Tuppence are discovering. It’s a hardship until Tuppence, with her adventurous soul, decides she and Tommy will become the Young Adventurers, Ltd., no job too small.
Their luck is in, as their first job rapidly expands to so much more!
Prudence “Tuppence” Cowley, a.k.a. Prudence Cooper, fifth daughter (out of seven children) of Archdeacon Cowley of Little Missendell, Suffolk, worked in an army hospital during the war.
Lieutenant Thomas “Tommy” Beresford had been childhood friends with Tuppence. He’s not brilliant but he’s good in a tight place. Sir William Beresford of Chalmers Park is the uncle who had wanted to adopt Tommy.
“A. Carter“, who is with Intelligence, is borrowing 27 Carshalton Gardens. Sir James Peel Edgerton has a reputation as the most celebrated K.C. in England and his hobby is criminology — and might well become prime minister. Inspector Japp is with CID Scotland Yard.
Julius P Hersheimmer is an American millionaire searching for his cousin, Jane Finn. (Julius’ father had cast off his sister, Jane’s mother, when she married Amos Finn.) He likes to carry “Little Willie” everywhere. George is Julius’ chauffeur.
Mr Edward Whittington is the head of the Esthonia Glassware Co. and wishes to install Tuppence at Madame Colombier’s pensionnat in Paris. Boris Ivanovitch, Count Stepanov, is part of the conspiracy. Flossie always gets the voice right. Conrad is the doorkeeper and Annette is the maid at the house in Soho. Mr Potter. Mr Kramenin is representing Russia; Ivan Grieber is his secretary. Dr Roylance is caring for a Jane Finn. Dr Adams takes only a few private patients at Astley Priors.
Mr Brown, an insignificant, barely noticeable man, is a master criminal. Marguerite “Rita” Vandemeyer had also been a passenger. Albert is the lift-boy at Mrs Vandemeyer’s building. Annie is about to be Mrs Vandemeyer’s former house-parlourmaid. Janet Vandemeyer could be Rita’s niece.
Politicians mentioned include Clymes and Westway. Dr Hall runs a private nursing home where Nurse Edith works. Felix is the headwaiter at the Ritz. Mrs Sweeny has the key for Moat House.
7 May 1915
The date on which the Lusitania was sunk by the Germans. Jane Finn and Danvers had been passengers along with Mrs Edgar “Eleanor Jane” Keith, Gladys Mary, Marjorie, Sadie, Miss Wheeler, and Marguerite Vandemeyer.
Sister Greenbank, aka Mother Greenbank, was a nurse back when Tommy and Tuppence were children. Lyons is a tea shop. Miss Dufferin lives at The Parsonage, Llanelly.
The Cover and Title
The top third of the cover is cream with the bottom two-thirds green. A pretty border of vines with a thin border of green on top and bottom crosses the top with the title, also in green, centered against the cream. The author’s name is below center in white. At the very bottom is a fainter green-outlined box noting this is “a public domain book”.
The title is all about The Secret Adversary who hides in plain sight.