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The Secret Adversary (1922)

by Agatha Christie

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Tommy and Tuppence (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
3,399992,708 (3.6)168
Set in 1919, young couple Tommy Beresford and Tuppence Cowley form a partnership, hiring themselves out as "young adventurers". Their first case, however, is more of an adventure than they expect - working to find secret documents that, if they were known to the general public, would fuel a communist revolution in Britain. They know that Jane Finn had the documents when she disappeared five years ago. What they don't know is that a killer is targeting a sinister older woman because she knows all about Jane. Soon Tommy and Tuppence are in grave danger.… (more)
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» See also 168 mentions

English (93)  Spanish (1)  French (1)  Dutch (1)  Danish (1)  Finnish (1)  All languages (98)
Showing 1-5 of 93 (next | show all)
Down-on-their-luck, a young couple hire themselves out as investigators.

"The Secret Adversary" was Christie’s second novel, coming on the heels of seminal murder mystery "The Mysterious Affair at Styles". It was an unusual choice, combining detective and spy stories with a giddy, light-hearted feel. Most of her thrillers would fail in part for being too dour; those like "The Secret of Chimneys" and "Why Didn’t They Ask Evans?" that allow for some humour tend to succeed – at least, relatively so.

Tommy Beresford and Prudence “Tuppence” Cowley are delightful and easy-going, suitably young, modern people in post-WWI England. It’s perhaps the best of Christie’s “thrillers”, and certainly the best of Tommy and Tuppence’s canon. Christie would revisit them sporadically over the next fifty years – and they would age along with the real world – but none of their remaining books would shine like this one; a real pity.

Ultimately, the light-hearted nature of the piece doesn’t destroy the tension, but it certainly muffles it. And whenever Christie tried international intrigue, there was inevitably the feeling that she was making it all up as she went along. Still, "The Secret Adversary" is a lively romp, worthy of a fan’s interest. ( )
  therebelprince | Nov 15, 2020 |
I got lost a few times during this novel, unsure who was where and who knew what. In addition, people in this novel are much cleverer and more quick-witted than the majority of people I know, which gives me an uncomfortable sense of inferiority. Aside from these things, though, this is a fun audiobook for neighborhood walks, cleaning the kitchen, and assembling blank timelines for homeschool purposes. ( )
  ImperfectCJ | Nov 4, 2020 |
A lot of running around to track down a traitor. ( )
  addunn3 | Sep 21, 2020 |
Showing its age. The classism and racism are pretty upfront, but if you get passed that, the story can be fun.
  doengels | Sep 2, 2020 |
If one was feeling jocular, one might say jolly good book. This is one of Christie's earlier works. Although there are serious moments, even those are revealed in a jocular manner. One gets the impression the author is laughing at her readers through out this book. Clues are tossed about like josh sticks. ( )
  DeaconBernie | Aug 17, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 93 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (15 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Christie, Agathaprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Grünau, Werner vonÜbersetzersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
May, NadiaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Siikarla, EvaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Steck, JohannesNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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[None]
Dedication
To all those who lead
monotonous lives
in the hope that they may experience
at second hand
the delights and dangers of
adventure
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It was 2 p.m. on the afternoon of May 7, 1915. (Prologue)
"Tommy, old thing!" (Chapter I)
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Wikipedia in English (1)

Set in 1919, young couple Tommy Beresford and Tuppence Cowley form a partnership, hiring themselves out as "young adventurers". Their first case, however, is more of an adventure than they expect - working to find secret documents that, if they were known to the general public, would fuel a communist revolution in Britain. They know that Jane Finn had the documents when she disappeared five years ago. What they don't know is that a killer is targeting a sinister older woman because she knows all about Jane. Soon Tommy and Tuppence are in grave danger.

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Book description
Tommy Beresford and Prudence 'Tuppence' Cowley are young, in love… and flat broke. Just after Great War, there are few jobs available and the couple are desperately short of money. Restless for excitement, they decide to embark on a daring business scheme: Young Adventurers Ltd.—"willing to do anything, go anywhere." Hiring themselves out proves to be a smart move for the couple. In their first assignment for the mysterious Mr. Whittingtont, all Tuppence has to do in their first job is take an all-expense paid trip to Paris and pose as an American named Jane Finn. But with the assignment comes a bribe to keep quiet, a threat to her life, and the disappearance of her new employer. Now their newest job are playing detective.

Where is the real Jane Finn? The mere mention of her name produces a very strange reaction all over London. So strange, in fact, that they decided to find this mysterious missing lady. She has been missing for five years. And neither her body nor the secret documents she was carrying have ever been found. Now post-war England's economic recovery depends on finding her and getting the papers back. But he two young working undercover for the British ministry know only that her name and the only photo of her is in the hands of her rich American cousin. It isn’t long before they find themselves plunged into more danger than they ever could have imagined—a danger that could put an abrupt end to their business… and their lives.
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Average: (3.6)
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Tantor Media

2 editions of this book were published by Tantor Media.

Editions: 1400102693, 1400109213

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