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The Secret Adversary

(Tommy & Tuppence Mysteries #1)

3.84  ·  Rating details ·  38,810 ratings  ·  2,885 reviews
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 ...more
Paperback, 268 pages
Published July 30th 2008 by Waking Lion Press (first published January 1922)
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Jessica It's the coincidence that Tommy hears the name mentioned on the street twice that day and tells Tuppence about it during their first meeting. Neither …moreIt's the coincidence that Tommy hears the name mentioned on the street twice that day and tells Tuppence about it during their first meeting. Neither of them thinks much about it. When Tuppence has to make up a name on the spot in the first meeting with Whittington she innocently says the first name that comes to mind "Jane Finn", not knowing the importance of that name at all until she meets up with Tommy again.(less)
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Secret Adversary is the first Tommy & Tuppence novel.


I'm not going to claim that it's great, but it was entertaining. And Christie managed to make me think I KNEW who the hell dunnit, only to jerk the rug out from underneath me...again. <--to be fair, that's kind of her thing, you know?


You know what was cute, though? All the snappy dialogue between the not-quite-yet lovebirds. I mean, it's probably not snappy by today's standards, but back in the day, I'm betting this was quite the
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
Mar 05, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: reviewed
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 Tuppenc
Jul 17, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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.
Simona Bartolotta
“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 and more than a little taken aback, but Christie can do no wrong, even when she does do wrong, so, of course, I
Jul 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
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
Re read with The Christie Carnage -noobs, middlings & hoity tots

WARNING: My thoughts are going to be scattered all over this review, Why? Because, 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
Dec 27, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: history, mystery, fiction
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 fir
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 T
Sep 07, 2012 rated it liked it
Recommended to Bettie by: Brazilliant and AM-Hayes-Zing
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?'

Bill Lynas
Although I've read a huge amount of Agatha Christie stories I've always avoided the four Tommy & Tuppence adventures as they never looked very appealing to me. I have to admit that this, their first adventure, was not as bad as I was expecting. Yes, I did get fed up with the amount of times that they referred to someone as "old bean" & it was a bit light & fluffy for my tastes.
On the other hand the plot zips along quite nicely & there's plenty going on. I really love The Saint stories by Leslie
Agatha Christie has been my favorite author since I was 9 and spent a summer break from school reading Hercule Poirot novels. I decided to revisit her books yet publication order. The Secret Adversary, Christie's second novel, was published in 1922. It introduces Tommy & Tuppence, two characters that would go on to star in three more novels and a short story collection. The final Tommy & Tuppence novel, Postern of Fate, was the last book Agatha Christie wrote before her death, but not ...more
Vimal Thiagarajan
Jun 16, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not the usual Christie mystery. This is a John Buchan style ripping yarn with light-weight espionage and a heavy emphasis on adventure.Initially I found the plot so light on logic and the situations so uncharacteristically contrived and co-incidence driven that it made me look back at the cover to confirm if I was reading a Christie or a Wodehouse. But it picked up gradually and then ended in a massive flourish. The mystery component, though not entirely unpredictable, was handled quite adeptly ...more
Feb 27, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Agatha Christie pages impress upon you sharply; even someone sampling the queen of mystery as late as I am. I was astonished by the plot intricacy in "The Mysterious Affair At Styles" but had a feeling there were better stories. Immediately, second novel "The Secret Adversary" is a step up. I'm drawn to every stage, the settings are far more dynamic, and this time: I'm responsive to the characters. Many revere this title as the introduction to Tommy & Tuppence but I'm entering this experience wi ...more
Katie Lumsden
Apr 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
Another great fun Agatha Christie! I really enjoyed this one, and would highly recommend it. More of an adventure mystery than a murder mystery, with wonderful characters and a fun plot. I'm definitely going to be reading more of the Tommy and Tuppence series in the future.
Vikas Singh
Jan 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned-book
Tommy and Tuppence adventures are best enjoyed only after you have read Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot’s adventures. Only then you can marvel at the creative genius of Agatha Christie and the fun she would have had creating Tommy and Tuppence. The secret adversary is a fast paced thriller involving the world of espionage and once you have started, you just cannot put it down. Added to this is the excellent chemistry between the two amateur detectives. Thoroughly enjoyable read.
Apr 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018
I’ve heard so many wonderful things about Agatha Christie’s books, but for whatever reason have never read one. When I saw that James was holding an Agatha Christie Readathon for April, I jumped on the chance to try at least a couple of her books. I am happy to say that I was pleasantly surprised with the amount of joy I had while reading The Secret Adversary.

One of my favorite aspects of this book was Christie’s writing style. There was something just so light and airy toward the beginning of
Jun 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
*SPOILERS* Let me get this out of the way - I think Mr Brown should have been Julius and not Sir James. The writer, bless her, should not have tried for a last twist in the tale and should have stuck to Julius as the villain. I don't like it much when the super villain as in here, is revealed to be an unimportant character on whom the spotlight is never shined for an adequate time.

However I gave this book four stars because despite its faults it delivers a quality pacing rhythm. It's a shame
Richard Derus
Rating: 3* of five for both book and movie

The Publisher Says: After WW1, childhood pals Tommy Beresford and "Tuppence" Prudence Cowley, lack money and prospects, become adventurers for the British Government. Rich American Julius P. Hersheimmer, powerful Mr Whittington, and an evil mastermind's conspiracy all seek Jane Finn, given papers vital to peace by an agent at the sinking of the Luisitania. Kidnaps, escapes.

My Review: The novel is a dated piece, lots of hoopla about Bolsheviks and the Gen
Agatha Christie meets Enid Blyton's Famous Five for a ripping adventure yarn. Or something like that anyway. Nothing like Poirot or Marple, Tommy and Tuppence are young, almost childlike in their approach. It's exactly like you'd imagine the Famous Five would treat the case - lots of excitable running about, not a lot of appropriate respect for the fact that they are in serious danger for most of the novel...

Tommy and Tuppence, the two detectives are demobbed after the war and find themselves wi
Nov 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I’m a huge fan of Agatha Christie’s books! I really want to read all her books and I think I will read another 5 books written by her this month. Hopefully!
About this book: It was a mix of suspense, mystery and in the end, romance. The romantic part was a surprise considering that I’m not used to read books written by this specific author that include romance. Usually it’s just the crime and the solution. But this one had two couples and the romance was present, especially in the end. But, to b
Aug 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
"The Secret Adversary" ,was first published in 1922 and was the the first mystery that featured Tommy and Tuppence .Reading it brought back nostalgia of childhood summer holidays and trips to the local library☺️☺️.Also,it is surprising how out reading tastes evolve as we grow older .My younger self did not like this book much as her other books but this time I loved it 🤔
Moonlight Reader
Published in 1922, The Secret Adversary was Christie’s second novel, coming directly on the heels of The Mysterious Affair At Styles, her first Poirot outing which was published in 1920. For the first decade or so of Christie’s career she dabbled heavily in the thriller/espionage genre, publishing The Man in the Brown Suit, The Secret of Chimneys, The Seven Dials Mystery and The Big Four, all of which deal with international crime gangs and conspiracies with varying levels of competence and succ ...more
Sebastien Castell
Jun 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
I found myself surprised by how much I enjoyed Agatha Christie's The Secret Adversary. First, because I'm not much of a Christie fan, and second, because I doubt those who are would ever say this was one of her better books.

The Secret Adversary smacks of all those qualities modern writers are told to avoid at all costs: messy viewpoint that often dips into the omniscient, one-dimensional characters who can be described with a single adjective such as "perky" or "stolid", prose that often involve
Not enjoying this Tommy/Tuppence dynamic duo. The story itself is kind of rompy and gimmicky, trying too hard to be funny and lighthearted. Give me Poirot or Miss Marple instead!
Abderrezzaq SENDJASNI
May 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book was my first mystery book, I really did enjoy reading it..... I had doubt about the mystery about the leader from the first 100 pages and I was right, well fifty percent right... Looking forward to read the next Tommy and Tuppence adventure.
Aug 04, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well I can now say I have finished my first Agatha Christie and I can say that it went better than I was expecting.

Now for me Agatha Christie conjured up images of the longest running play (although I believe it has now finished) to little of ladies knitting and solving impossible murders. Now I know that is a Massive disservice who in many ways is the progenitor or British Crime stories but I guess with such a huge publication catalogue and I guess also an aging style (cannot remember the last
Pradnya K.
Apr 22, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery, 2016
Thought I'd finish it over a weekend but it took two. Never mind, coz it was good enough. Not the one which gets hold of you and shakes through and through but good enough.

It's a story of a mysterious teenage girl who's entrusted with important treaty and goes missing right after she gets handed it over to her. Tommy and Twopence, sorry, Tuppence ( that's the clue, right? )
form together Young Adventures, a tiny organization to earn money in curious ways, fall right into the track on a very firs
I must admit that, after listening to this audiobook, I find that the voices inside my head now have British accents. Whatever am I to do?!

Haha! Sorry about that. It's just that I've always been able to hear the voice in my head saying whatever it is that I'm about to write and right now... that voice doesn't sound like my normal self one whit! I keep wanting to say things like "ol' chap" and such like that. But-- That is one thing that I absolutely love about books like this! (That's not weird,
***2018 Summer of Spies***

I had great fun reading this, the second of Dame Agatha’s books to be published. It is refreshing for its lack of a plot formula, like those developed during her career and well established by books like Hallowe'en Party. It is also unusual in its featuring of a couple in the starring roles, Tommy & Tuppence. Plus it incorporates a relatively recent event, the sinking of the Luisitania (1915), The Secret Adversary being published in 1922. I was really struck, howeve
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Classic Trash: Secret Adversary: In Progress (No Spoilers) 8 3 Jul 02, 2020 07:33PM  
Seeking more of the same--Intricate but not-so-dark mysteries 18 155 Nov 23, 2018 01:59PM  
Secret Adversary 3 13 Nov 23, 2018 11:38AM  
Agatha Christie L...: October 2017 - The Secret Adversary 9 47 Nov 02, 2017 01:45PM  
Goodreads Librari...: Alternate edition cover 3 13 Feb 08, 2017 09:21AM  

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Agatha Christie also wrote romance novels under the pseudonym Mary Westmacott, and was occasionally published under the name Agatha Christie Mallowan.

Agatha Christie is the best-selling author of all time. She wrote 66 crime novels and story collections, fourteen plays, and six novels under a pseudonym in Romance. Her books have sold over a billion copies in the English language and a billion in t

Other books in the series

Tommy & Tuppence Mysteries (5 books)
  • Partners in Crime (Tommy and Tuppence #2)
  • N or M? (Tommy and Tuppence, #3)
  • By the Pricking of My Thumbs (Tommy and Tuppence, #4)
  • Postern of Fate (Tommy and Tuppence, #5)

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