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The Secret Adversary

(Tommy & Tuppence Mysteries #1)

3.86  ·  Rating details ·  47,982 ratings  ·  3,505 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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Melissa Three years late but apparently in the original version it was “Jane Fish”. Not a laff riot but at least remarkable. It’s bizarre some editor chose to…moreThree years late but apparently in the original version it was “Jane Fish”. Not a laff riot but at least remarkable. It’s bizarre some editor chose to change it.
Bobbiann Markle It has the word "damn" or "damned" a number of times, but I think that's it. Nothing sexual.…moreIt has the word "damn" or "damned" a number of times, but I think that's it. Nothing sexual.(less)

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Average rating 3.86  · 
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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
Aug 07, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
I must admit, I don't think I have ever read a Tommy and Tuppence novel despite reading Agatha Christie's books for 50 years (gosh that sounds scary, where has the time gone ? ). That said I have seen a number of T & T episodes on TV with various combinations of actors/actresses. But even so, I did not remember this story at all.

Both in dire straits financially, they decide given their lack of any other skills, that they should combine and form an adventure company to solve mysteries for other p
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. ...more
Sandy *The world could end while I was reading and I would never notice*
EXCERPT: It was 2 pm 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. The women and children were being lined up awaiting their turn. Some still clung desperately to husbands and fathers; others clutched their children closely to their breasts. One girl stood alone, slightly apart from the rest. She was quite young, not more than eighteen. She did not seem afraid, an ...more
Jan 15, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned-books, christie
It was Agatha Christie's second book and the first one featuring Tommy and Tuppence.Unlike the later books,where they are middle aged and then old,here they are young and not yet married.

It was quite a contrast reading this soon after Postern of Fate,Christie's last book and the last adventure of the old couple,Tommy and Tuppence,in which they remember their young days and the past a great deal.

The action begins with the sinking of the passenger ship,Lusitania,during World War I.As women and chi
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
Simona B
“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
The first book of the Tommy & Tuppence series is not a murder-mystery. It is rather a thriller involving secret documents, spies, and secret criminal organizations. I've read many Agatha Christies - more murder mysteries than thrillers - and I've enjoyed her more in her "whodunnits" than in her thrillers. It is the same here. It was fun and entertaining, even humorous, but not quite to the mark of her murder-mysteries; at least it was for me.

Despite my personal preference, it was an interesting
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
Jan 22, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is Agatha Christie's second ever mystery (after "The Mysterious Affair at Styles") first published in 1922. It is also the first Tommy and Tuppence book and, although Christie is my favourite author of all time, for some reason I hadn't read this series before.

Having finished it, it reminded me a little of the early Campion books. This is not so much a mystery as an adventure. It begins on the Lusitania, when a young woman - Jane Finn - is given some secret papers before getting aboard a li
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
2020 Re-read:

This was a very fun re-read. How different it is from Christie's first novel, although it was entertaining to see Inspector Japp show up very briefly during the proceedings. I became aware that Hercules Poirot and Tommy & Tuppence exist in the same environment.

You'd think that I would remember the ending since I only read it two years ago, but no dice. There were plenty of other details that stuck in my mind however. I loved the banter between the main characters and the breakneck
Jul 05, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: ebook-owned
I wonder if I would have enjoyed this one more if I had read it earlier in my Christie journey? As it is, this was perfectly fine as a Christie thriller, but it didn't really stand out to me and, as it was only her second book, the Christie prose style that I love wasn't fully there ...more
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
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.
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. ...more
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
Christine PNW
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
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
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
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 🤔 ...more
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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 & Tuppence, #2)
  • N or M? (Tommy & Tuppence, #3)
  • By the Pricking of My Thumbs (Tommy and Tuppence, #4)
  • Postern of Fate (Tommy and Tuppence, #5)

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