Description After WW1, childhood pals Tommy Beresford and Tuppence Prudence Cowley lack money and prospects and become adventurers for the British Government Rich American Julius P Hersheimmer, powerful Mr Whittington, and an evil mastermind s conspiracy all seek Jane Finn who was given papers vital to peace by an agent at the sinking of the Luisitania Oooo stop the press, this is a 2015 TV series starring Jessica Raine and David Walliams Is she like this at home ALL THOSE WHO LEAD MONOTONOUS LIVES IN THE HOPE THAT THEY MAY EXPERIENCE AT SECOND HAND THE DELIGHTS AND DANGERS OF ADVENTUREOpening IT was 2 p.m on the afternoon of May 7, 1915 The Lusitania had been struck by two torpedoes in succession and was sinking rapidly, while the boats were being launched with all possible speed The women and children were being lined up awaiting their turn Some still clung desperately to husbands and fathers others clutched their children closely to their breasts One girl stood alone, slightly apart from the rest She was quite young, notthan eighteen She did not seem afraid, and her grave, steadfast eyes looked straight ahead. Tommy Tuppence sittin in a tree A group of young Adventurers overcome several thrilling events in a tale jam packed with action, a story that deals with secret documents written by secret people that must be stopped by secret people in a very secretive way The two novices stumble upon this, and their wits both sexes are seen as equal in their cunning or charm help them solve the puzzle Agatha Christie is the equivalent of a warm pot pie on some cold, dreary evening aka better than this terrestrial form of hell. Tommy And Tuppence Are Young, In Love And Flat Broke Restless For Excitement, They Decide To Embark On A Daring Business Scheme Young Adventurers Ltd Willing To Do Anything, Go Anywhere But They Get Than They Bargained For When Their First Assignment For The Sinister Mr Whittington Draws Them Into A Diabolical ConspiracyIt Isn T Long Before They Find Themselves Plunged Into Danger Than They Ever Could Have Imagined A Danger That Could Put An Abrupt End To Their Business And Their Lives I ve already read many Agatha Christie s books and I like almost everything from her But this book was one of the weakest Agatha s Christie s books that I ever read But it s okay, this was only the second book that she wrote, and she was not as mature, confident and inspired as a writer. Re read withThe Christie Carnage noobs, middlings hoity tots WARNING My thoughts are going to be scattered all over this review,WhyBecause, I suck at reviewing Lets begin from the beginning So, some of the readers at the Indian Readers decided to read the complete works of Agatha Christie I, being overly curious and enthusiastic, jumped right into with my fellow readers, despite of having read, re read, watched, heard audiobooks and those delicious BBC radio plays multiple number of times So the book most voted upon roughly based on chronology of its publishing was theSecret Adversary , published in the year 1922 this was after Mysterious Affair at Styles Disclaimer Prior to this I had never followed any chronology while reading her works The primary reason was availability Whatever books were available in the school and local libraries, had to make do with those But that was almost 15 years back Totally useless information Coming back to the book, had I read, The Secret Adversary, some odd 10 years back, this book would have been a winner for me getting older unfortunately has made mecritical This book has one of my most favourite tropesAn espionage set during the First World War periodThe idea of saving secret documents from the hands of the bad guys during one of my most favourite period of history should have got my juices flowing The story had almost all the elements secret societies with members having code names, dual identities, chasing and spying sequences, lost memories and of course murder Despite of the things that should have made this great espionage book, the story went flat for me The main characters,Tommy TuppenceTwo people going to extreme lengths trying too hard for the sake of money and some idea of grand adventure and Julius Hersheimmersomehow seemed a bit caricaturish to me Exception perhaps wasSir James Peel Edgertonwho made a clever and believable character The plot too, IMO, was a bit too contrived.Then mid way, through the book, I recalled the bad guy was curse of re reading Was languishing at 50%, had to speed up because my co readers were already done with it again completely rambling thoughts I had started with the intention of giving it at least three stars, chopping off one star now Was annoyed at times while reading those obvious coincidences and at Tommy s tomfoolery, the way he would goad his captors.Here s an incident,Good morning , said Tommy amiably You have NOT used Pear s soap, I see No light repartee, have you old bean There, there, we can t always have brains as well as beauty Sorry, I was neither amused nor impressed with his bravado.Damn Thats the reason I don t like doing reviews The Secret Adversary gets only 2.25 stars from me.Having said that do not go by my verdict, Goodreads is teeming with good reviews I would recommend it to all mystery thriller aficionados Don t be offended because I think you re young Youth is a failing only too easily outgrown I am willing to bet anything that Tommy and Tuppence are the two cutest wannabe detectives in the panorama of spy fiction in its entirety Yes, spy fiction I dove into this expecting a crime story, instead espionage was the key word here There is no denying that I was a little disappointed andthan a little taken aback, but Christie can do no wrong, even when she does do wrong, so, of course, I liked it.The plot admittedly works with too many pretty coincidences and happy happenstances, so I wouldn t call it a serious espionage novel, and it most certainly won t appeal to fans of that genre I ended up enjoying it nonetheless because, as I said, the main characters are the most adorable creatures to ever walk the earth, and because Agatha still managed to make up for the naivety of the whole thing with a finale that is, after all, not so predictable.I will obviously read the next novels in the Tommy and Tuppence series, and the collection of short stories too Plus, I m marking it as spoiler, but really now view spoiler I m dying to see them as a married couple hide spoiler A short and entertaining read entertaining as much for its mystery as for the laughable sensationalism of its topic Very timely for 1922 all about bolsheviks and revolutions and Labour Party members and secret treaties, with a hero and heroine full of jolly upper class Britishness and levity, if not imagination, in tough spots Very characteristic of an era.The mystery, though constructed out of sensationalistic and dated elements, has an excellent form We are told quite frankly in the first few chapters that we will meet the Bad Guy before we know that he IS the Bad Guy and then we spend the rest of the book trying to figure out which of the characters he is Very good, in that regard Also, as in all good Christie, everyone s got their fingers in the pot somehow she manages to keep each character s critical discoveries secret from us until the end but even though we re lagging far behind most of the characters, we don t feel stupid because we, as the readers, have our own theories that we don t necessarily want to be spoiled.A very very short one Read it in an afternoon for a good laugh. When Tommy and Tuppence were discussing money, and their lack of it, they decided on a daring scheme in which to make money quickly Young Adventurers Ltd immediately put a notice in the London Times advertising their willingness to embark on anything which probably wasn t too sensible Their contact sent them to search for an elusive young woman who had been connected to the sinking of the RMS Lusitania by a German torpedo during the war but the danger they would face made young Tommy and Tuppence realise it wasn t all a game The Secret Adversary by Agatha Christie is the first in the Tommy Tuppence series and I quite enjoyed it Fun and entertaining with plenty of unforeseeable twists, I have no hesitation in recommending it to fans of both Agatha Christie and the genre. I am hosting an Agatha Christie Readathon on my blog in April 2018 where we are reading one of her books each week The first book up, The Secret Adversary, is the initial entry in the Tommy Tuppence cozy mystery series she s written Although I ve read a bunch of her novels, I hadn t read anything in this particular series, so I was glad that one of them won the poll to choose our books that I had set up earlier this year.In this caper, Tommy and Tuppence, 22 year old somewhat poor residents of London around 1920, are bored enough to form a partnership where they will agree to do anything legal to obtain a salary Tuppence wants to marry rich Tommy doesn t care You kinda know they have to end up together, right A mysterious man overhears their conversation and asks them for help in finding Jane Finn who disappeared when the Lusitania sank nearly five years earlier She was given a very important government paper by a pseudo spy who died in the tragedy, but Jane seems to have lost her memory No one can find her, but there are several ne er to do wells and government spies searching for her Though WW1 is over now, if anyone finds out what was written in the papers, it might just ignite another battle Tommy Tuppence take the case, but soon find themselves baffled by all the different stories they hear When they separate to getdone, each is kidnapped and nearly killed for knowing nothing but really knowing something Then Jane s American cousin helps with the search and leads are finally flooding in around them Now the little sleuthing pair are on their own and unable to determine who s telling the truth Think you can I actually solved this one Christie is remarkable when it comes to creating suspense, intrigue, and drama in her books Although the story started off a tad peculiar to me, I slowly became fascinated by how different things were nearly 100 years ago Between the phrases used to describe people, the quick allegiance people swore to one another, and the methods for doing research, it was outstanding Sometimes I laughed at their silly tactics, others I thought they made no sense But it was a different time and place, and under those contexts, it actually made perfect sense Tommy Tuppence themselves are also weird They speak in terms of puzzles, but seem to understand one another They wish for things they don t need but join forces in a venture that initially makes no sense I was worried even thought did I make a mistake giving this book a chance But I knew how much people adored them, so I pushed forward and by about 20% in, the book takes on a muchstandard mystery and suspense tone.The ending was very well written The plot is thorough but leaves a lot to the imagination Do we really ever find out what s written in the government documents Do we know exactly who kidnapped each of the sleuths Do we know whether every character was purely good or evil Not really there is a bit of vagueness going on, but it doesn t hurt the story Readers willthan likely fall in love with the duo, get caught up in determining which is the true bad guy, and grow puzzled in trying to decide which information to trust and which information is just a red herring.It s fun to read these capers It s less about the language andabout the approach to solving a crime So sit back and relax let the author dazzle you with her story and let go of the normal constructs you expect in a mystery novel I m going with 4 stars on this one, as I dthan recommend it, but there were some things I felt could have been handled better That said I look forward to readingin the Tommy Tuppence series, but that will have to wait Next week s book is from the Hercule Poirot collection Join us if you can IT was 2 p.m on the afternoon of May 7, 1915 The Lusitania had been struck by two torpedoes in succession and was sinking rapidly, while the boats were being launched with all possible speed.This is still one of the most intriguing Agatha Christie opening lines I have read another can be found in Murder on the Orient Express, but I ll get to that in a different post The Secret Adversary is the first adventure of Miss Prudence Cowley and Lieutenant Thomas Beresford, a.k.a Tommy and Tuppence Tommy and Tuppence have known each other since childhood but lost touch over the years with the exception that they met again in 1916, when Tommy was injured in the war and Tuppence worked as an auxiliary nurse The story sets in as they meet again for the first time since 1916, now in London in 1920 Both are best described as Bright Young Things of their time, both are broke, and both are looking for way to make some money.I absolutely love the start of this story, the setting and the dialogue between Tommy and Tuppence It s fresh, it s witty, it s believable.Christie shines through in every aspect of Tuppence, and, based on descriptions of her own circumstances in Christie s autobiography, I have a hunch that Tommy was somewhat inspired by Christie s then husband Archie.When thinking about bright young things, I usually first think of Waugh s Vile Bodies However, what is striking about The Secret Adversary is that it was published in 1922 a whole 8 years before Vile Bodies This is only Christie s 2nd published novel, and yet we get such fun dialogue as thisRot said Tommy hastily Well, that s my position I m just about desperate So am I I ve hung out as long as I could I ve touted round I ve answered advertisements I ve tried every mortal blessed thing I ve screwed and saved and pinched But it s no good I shall have to go home Don t you want to Of course I don t want to What s the good of being sentimental Father s a dear I m awfully fond of him but you ve no idea how I worry him He has that delightful early Victorian view that short skirts and smoking are immoral You can imagine what a thorn in the flesh I am to him He just heaved a sigh of relief when the war took me off You see, there are seven of us at home It s awful All housework and mothers meetings I have always been the changeling I don t want to go back, but oh, Tommy, what else is there to do Tommy shook his head sadly There was a silence, and then Tuppence burst out Money, money, money I think about money morning, noon and night I dare say it s mercenary of me, but there it is Same here, agreed Tommy with feeling While I love Tummy and Tuppence, the plot of the story doesn t quite work for me It s Christie s first attempt at international espionage, and, if you ask me, she should have left it at that After the two friends discuss an idea to go into business together, the plot snowballs out of control fuelled by the most unlikely of coincidences, and at some point I got confused again and this was my third re read about who is who and who is bluffing whom Mystery wise, this is not the greatest of stories However, I d recommend it just for the sheer fun of getting to know Christie in her early years, before the necessity to make money from writing leads her to develop that famous formula that runs through most of her best known creations.
Mary Westmacott, and was occasionally published under the name
- 268 pages
- The Secret Adversary
- Agatha Christie
- 15 April 2019 Agatha Christie