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The Secret Adversary by Agatha Christie

The Secret Adversary (original 1922; edition 1922)

by Agatha Christie

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2,619822,287 (3.61)142
Title:The Secret Adversary
Authors:Agatha Christie
Info:New York, Dodd, Mead, 1922.
Collections:Your library
Tags:project gutenberg, nook, fiction, mystery, England, espionage

Work details

The Secret Adversary by Agatha Christie (1922)

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» See also 142 mentions

English (77)  Spanish (1)  French (1)  Dutch (1)  Danish (1)  Finnish (1)  All (82)
Showing 1-5 of 77 (next | show all)
More of a spy thriller than a traditional cozy whodunit from Christie, this is the first of the short Tommy and Tuppence series and deals with efforts to recover some diplomatic papers that were lost during WWI and which could cause all sorts of problems for England if they fall into the wrong hands in 1919 (when the story takes place). Not a bad effort, but a major table-setting plot point pushes suspension of disbelief to its limits, and the main red herring here was so obvious that it almost served as an anti-herring. Unless one was willing to believe that the person involved was beyond stupid, which I was not inclined to do. ( )
  jimgysin | Jun 19, 2017 |
This was the first Agatha Christie novel featuring Tommy and Tuppence as sleuths (of only four such, plus a collection of short stories). This was her second ever novel, published in 1922, and is redolent of the atmosphere of the time. To the modern reader, Tommy and Tuppence sound like 1920s stereotypes with their hyper-enthusiastic dialogue. The social mores feel only just post-Great War, with Tuppence being at the forefront of a generation of more assertive women, having done front line nursing during the war (I must record one comment on Tuppence's dress which is hilarious by modern standards, "her extremely short and rather shabby skirt revealed a pair of uncommonly dainty ankles"). The plot concerns some top secret diplomatic papers supposedly passed onto a survivor of the Lusitania by a secret agent who drowned in the sinking of the torpedoed ship, and the attempt by the authorities and others to locate them now the war is over to avoid unpleasant consequences. The hostiles attempting to seize the papers are a mixture of a mysterious "Mr Brown", Germans and Russian Bolsheviks, the latter of whom are allegedly using the British Labour Party in order to foment revolution in Britain (shades of the infamous forged "Zinoviev letter" published by the Daily Mail on the eve of the 1924 general election, which was held - though not necessarily accurately - to be the main reason why that election saw the defeat of the first minority Labour government). The way this hangs together is not convincing, but the novel is the usual page turner, with red herrings along the way as to the identity of "Mr Brown" (which I didn't find plausible). Not one of Christie's stronger novels. ( )
  john257hopper | Mar 11, 2017 |
I am a huge fan of Agatha Christie - both Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot but had never read her Tommy and Tuppence series.

Even though this series is set back in the earlier part of the 20th century, it was still entertaining and the characters were totally what you expect from Dame Agatha Christie.

I am glad that I finally started this classic series and look forward to getting to know these characters as well as Christie's others. ( )
  cyderry | Dec 7, 2016 |
I listened to this one - an early book by Christie and the first Tommy & Tuppence story. T & T knew each other growing up. Tommy goes to war and Tuppence sees him again in the hospital as she signed up as a nurse. After the war, they run into each other and decide to form the Young Adventurers willing to do almost anything for money. They get mixed up in a conspiracy that started right after the sinking of the Luisitiania when a young American girl, Jane Finn, is handed some documents to get safely to shore as the man carrying the papers is unlikely to survive with the ship sinking. Jane gets grabbed up by bad guys right away but fakes amnesia and manages to hide the papers in plain sight. She fakes her condition for five years. T & T are brought in by the English government, Mr. Carter, to try to find her and identify a master criminal, Mr. Brown. T & T are joined by a man claiming to be Jane's American Cousin, Julius, who is rich and feels bad about his father abandoning Jane's mother and wants to find her. First Tommy gets kidnapped and is helped to escape by a pretty French girl, Annette, who seems to be part of the gang. He escapes and then Tuppence is caught and ends up being held with Annette. T & T are also helped by a top English defense attorney. I decided that Mr. Brown had to either be Julius or the top attorney and at first it seems Tommy thinks it is Julius but that was a trick and he and Julius rescue Tuppence and Jane and unmask Mr. Brown. A pretty good story.
  taurus27 | Dec 1, 2016 |
my copy, only a few years old, is falling apart from use ( )
  katcoviello | Sep 21, 2016 |
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» Add other authors (19 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Christie, Agathaprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
May, NadiaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Siikarla, EvaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To all those who lead
monotonous lives
in the hope that they may experience
at second hand
the delights and dangers of
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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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Book description

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 Brits working undercover for the ministry know only that her name was Jane Finn and the only photo of her is in the hands of her rich American cousin. they don't know yet about a mysterious and ruthless man called "Mr. Brown" or the beautiful, but sinister, older woman who knows all about Jane Finn ... and therefore must die.


From his hiding place behind the door Tommy could hear the Russian's fingers drumming on the table.
"Then what more do you want?"
"The document itself," said the German bluntly.
"Ah! It is not in your possession? But you know where it is?"
"One person - perhaps. And we are not sure of that even."
"Who is this person?"
"A girl."
Tommy held his breath.
"A girl?" the Russian's voice rose contemptuously. "And you have not made her speak? In Russia we have ways of making a girl talk."
"This case is different," said the German sullenly.
"How - different?" He paused for a moment, then went on" "Where is the girl now?"
"She is - "
But Tommy heard no more. A crashing blow descended on his head, and all was darkness ...
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0553122479, Paperback)

Where is Jane Finn? The mere mention of her name produced a very strange reaction all over London. So strange, in fact, that Tommy and Tuppence deceided to find this mysterious missing lady. And once those two determine sleuths made up their minds, nothing could stop them -- not international espionage, kidnapping...or even murder.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:01:30 -0400)

(see all 8 descriptions)

Hiring themselves out as "young adventurers" proves to be a smart move for Tommy and Tuppence. 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 Tuppence's newest job is playing detective.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 19 descriptions

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Tantor Media

2 editions of this book were published by Tantor Media.

Editions: 1400102693, 1400109213

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