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The Secret Adversary
By Agatha Christie

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The Secret Adversary
By Agatha Christie
Ulverscroft Large Print, 1991
ISBN: 0-7089-2441-7
Genre: Mystery

Reviewed by Simone Bonim - September 6, 2005

The Secret Adversary, by Agatha Christie is a Tommy and Tuppence mystery. This duo of amateur detectives just happens to be a pair of late Victorian, 1920ish flappers with a knack for uncovering mysteries and getting involved in dangerous scenarios. Thomas "Tommy" Beresford and Prudence "Tuppence" Cowley appeared in five of Christie's novels, and unlike some of her other books, these are note worthy for her descriptions of clothing and furnishing - two elements that often take a back seat in her other books unless they are essential to the plot. However, as with all her other books, the Tommy and Tuppence mysteries are well plotted and intriguing stories.

This is the first installment in the Tommy and Tuppence series, and the couple are not yet married. The other five books in this series are: Partners in Crime, N or M?, By the Pricking of My Thumbs, and Postern of Fate. As this story opens, they have just been reunited after a long separation. The Secret Adversary is set in the days after the end of World War I, Tommy has recently been demobbed from military service, and Tuppence who had worked in a hospital during the war is back on her own. Both are out of work, short of money, and eager for adventure.

They fulfill their need for adventure by setting themselves up as a pair of adventurers for hire, and they soon have a job. They are tasked with the job of trying to retrieve some documents that were thought to have been lost during the sinking of the S.S. Lusitania but which, it appears where saved. In the process of tracking down these documents, the pair discovers a horrific plot, organized by a gentleman named Mr. Brown, which is bent upon destroying the fragile peace that now exists. As events unfold, the vivacious pair becomes embroiled in both espionage and murder, and in the labor unrest being fermented by communist and trade unionists.

The Secret Adversary is a lighthearted, yet complex thriller about a pair of zany 'kids' who manage to skate through danger like it doesn't exist and who are able, without hardly any real skills, to dethrone a master criminal. Written in a breezy, cheerful style, The Secret Adversary provides a fine introduction to this delightful pair of crime solvers, while also offering an excellent adventure story filled with intrigue, love, and lots of danger for our intrepid couple.

The Secret Adversary can be purchased directly from Ulverscroft.

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