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The Secret Adversary (1922)

by Agatha Christie

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Tommy and Tuppence (1)

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3,349982,751 (3.6)167
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 167 mentions

English (92)  Spanish (1)  French (1)  Dutch (1)  Danish (1)  Finnish (1)  All languages (97)
Showing 1-5 of 92 (next | show all)
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 |
I haven't really focused on Christie's non-Poirot/Marple books. Last year I said j would read all of Christie's other books and I just got busy and lost interest. Now I'm ready to take a look at her other works. There's also a rereleased of a biography coming out soon about Christie that I can't wait to read.

"Secret Adversary" is flawed, but I enjoyed it. The plot gets down right ridiculous after a while and there's way too many coincidences to make the story work, but Tommy and Tuppence are great partners and it makes me think that this is what I wanted "The Thin Man" to be more like.

The characters of Tommy and Tuppence were fun. They were weirdly apart for most of the book, but still were totally in each other's corners. I did laugh at Christie saying how Tommy isn't attractive and Tuppence was just okay. And it's even said many times that Tommy is not that smart. She does love disparaging her creations, it's kind of funny to read a book where the main characters are not beautiful and the smartest things ever.

The secondary characters were sketched with broad strokes. We get a millionaire American that I felt was just a walking talking stereotype of an American. We get mysterious women and a mysterious man hell bent on wrecking England. I had a hard time swallowing this storyline in The Big Four and didn't buy it here either.

The writing takes a bit to get used to, but I didn't find it hard to understand the dialogue between characters. The flow didn't work though. Some scenes felt endless.

The setting of post war England shows that not everything is coming up roses. Tommy and Tuppence are both struggling to make ends meet and there frank conversation about marrying for money was funny, but also realistic.

The ending was rather sweet I thought. You have Tommy and Tuppence setting off together in more ways than one. Going to read book number two soon.

This book is available via public domain. I would say that the formatting drove me up the wall. I'm glad I got it for free, but now I'm wishing I just paid for a version. ( )
  ObsidianBlue | Jul 1, 2020 |
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. ( )
1 vote therebelprince | Apr 27, 2020 |
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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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Tantor Media

2 editions of this book were published by Tantor Media.

Editions: 1400102693, 1400109213

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