Agatha Christie Lovers discussion

N or M? (Tommy & Tuppence, #3)
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Book of the Month Reads > CLOSED November 2013 - N or M?

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Carolyn F. | 4574 comments Mod
Originally published 1941. Features Tommy and Tuppence.

The last words of a murdered government agent lead Tommy and Tuppence Beresford to the Sans Souci Hotel, where they're greeted with hostile guests, a mysterious hotelier, and reports of a missing girl. When Tommy himself vanishes, Tuppence has reason to fear that checking out of the Sans Souci comes at a perilous price...


Adrian Farr | 15 comments I'm possibly one of the few in that I like Tommy and Tuppence. I personally wish that Dame Agatha had written a few more, I understand that Poirot took up all of her time and she loathed it, but carried on with him as that's what the public wanted.


Denise (dulcinea3) | 262 comments I love Tommy and Tuppence! They're my favorite Christie series. Looking forward to getting to this read next month!


☯Emily  Ginder | 18389 comments I like the first two books with Tommy and Tuppence!


Kim N (crossreactivity) ☯Emily is tired of waiting for GR announcement, so now has Booklikes account. wrote: "I like the first two books with Tommy and Tuppence!"

My favorite is the first one - The Secret Adversary.


Randee Baty I'm a fan of Tommy and Tuppence also! I enjoy all their books.


Denise (dulcinea3) | 262 comments My favorite is also The Secret Adversary, but I am also quite fond of By the Pricking of My Thumbs.


Denise | 22 comments I enjoy most of the Tommy & Tuppence stories. I like the Secret Adversary as the young adventurers and the N or M story as the older but still sharp detectives.


Brad Friedman | 191 comments The cool thing about Tommy and Tuppence is that Christie allowed them to age, and the resulting mysteries are directly tied into their resulting states of mind. The Secret Adversary finds them in a state of high excitement and feeling invulnerable, which is probably the only way they could have faced a master criminal. They're still feeling pretty cocky in Partners in Crime, giving them the courage to pretend their way through the catalogue of great detectives.

N or M finds them in middle age, and you can feel that wistful yearning for the old days throughout as they tackle perhaps the most conventional mystery of their career. I can't say Christie is at her most clever when she's writing about them, but you can tell she loves T & T, and she wrote about them sparingly. I enjoyed By the Pricking of My Thumbs; despite its meandering, it packs a nice twist in the end. And we must all forgive Christie for Postern of Fate: she was clearly unwell, and greedy publishers should have taken this in hand or not printed it.


Carolyn F. | 4574 comments Mod
I'm so glad we have a bunch of Tommy & Tuppence fans here. I have this on my MP3 already to start in November.


Denise (dulcinea3) | 262 comments No matter how poorly Postern of Fate was written, I still am fond of it for a last look at Tommy and Tuppence in old age (and Albert, too).


Adrian Farr | 15 comments Will be starting the audiobook after the Grand Prix. It's been a little while, looking forward to it.


Carolyn F. | 4574 comments Mod
Me too, I'm finishing the audiobook on my MP3 I'm listening to now and it'll be next in line.


Adrian Farr | 15 comments Finished in one listen! I do love Tuppence, the brains of the outfit.


message 15: by Carolyn F. (last edited Nov 06, 2013 12:43PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Carolyn F. | 4574 comments Mod
I just started it and after Tuppence was explaining why she chose her alias because of the her initials PB being embroidered on her knickers, she asked Tommy why he chose Meadows because it's a silly name. Tommy said, "Well to begin with I don't have large Bs embroidered on my pants." Cracked me up!


Denise (dulcinea3) | 262 comments Carolyn F. wrote: "I just started it and after Tuppence was explaining why she chose her alias because of the her initials PB being embroidered on her knickers, she asked Tommy why he chose Meadows because it's a sil..."

I loved that, too, Carolyn! Tommy and Tuppence are always so much fun!


Katherine I love Tommy and Tuppence. I want them to live next door to me! I only wish Agatha Christie had written more books featuring Tommy and Tuppence. They're smart, funny, dedicated to the task at hand, they have pluck and they do everything together! I just finished reading N or M, for the second time, and I enjoyed it more the second time around!


Denise (dulcinea3) | 262 comments I enjoyed reading the book again, for I don't know the how-manyth time. For some reason, I never remember the entire solution, although (view spoiler). But everybody at Sans Souci seems suspicious! Of course, Tommy's first sight of Mrs. Blenkensop is one of the most delicious moments!


message 19: by Brad (new) - rated it 4 stars

Brad Friedman | 191 comments Denise wrote: "I enjoyed reading the book again, for I don't know the how-manyth time. For some reason, I never remember the entire solution, although [spoilers removed]. But everybody at Sans Souci seems suspici..."

Denise, I think we're meant to go back and forth on the suspect you mentioned. I also suspected this person throughout. The real surprise is supposed to be the OTHER spy, and it is more of a surprise. I don't ever remember too much about this novel except for Tommy and Tuppence. Maybe that's the problem with it for me, but I still enjoy T&T!


Carolyn F. | 4574 comments Mod
Of course my audiobook download is missing the last two chapters, so I'm going to request the book from the library.


Denise (dulcinea3) | 262 comments Carolyn F. wrote: "Of course my audiobook download is missing the last two chapters, so I'm going to request the book from the library."

Oh, how terrible, Carolyn, to be in the middle of a juicy mystery and have the ending missing! I hope you can get it soon!


Carolyn F. | 4574 comments Mod
I'm 1/1 so maybe by this weekend :)


Carol (mansonville) | 55 comments Carolyn F. wrote: "Of course my audiobook download is missing the last two chapters, so I'm going to request the book from the library."

I can`t believe that you were missing two chapters, Carolyn! How terrible! Good luck getting the book soon. I`m going to go look for it in my Christie collection right now!


Carolyn F. | 4574 comments Mod
I bought this collection a long time ago - 3 or 4 years ago, so I can't really go back and complain (although I wish I could). I'm hoping the book is there this week.


message 25: by Gary (new) - rated it 4 stars

Gary Vassallo | 11 comments I'm also a Tommy & Tuppence fan and really enjoyed this one. I thought the twists and turns at the end really made it a worthwhile read.


Daisy (bellisperennis) Although Agatha Christie doesn’t use much description, when Tommy and Tuppence walk along in certain areas of town, the road or harbor, or when I read of the hidden bay, or about the interior scenes in the bathroom or the doctor’s office, I feel I’m right there.


Randee Baty It is interesting and a testament to her storytelling ability that Agatha Christie can put you right in the story without bogging down in the description.


Daisy (bellisperennis) Randee, yes, and with seeming effortless(??) simplicity.


message 29: by Anne (new) - rated it 3 stars

Anne Pichette | 16 comments I enjoyed this book. I agree with the person that said it was nice the Christie let Tuppence and Tommy age. It was enjoyable to watch them untangle the mystery.


Denise | 22 comments I finished reading this and enjoyed it almost as much as the first time reading it. I remembered some of the details of who N/M was but not exactly how it was all done. I love all the clever little devices that N/M used, too bad M or N used it for betraying N/M's country.


message 31: by Denise (last edited Nov 22, 2013 10:10PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Denise | 22 comments I've read most of the other Tommy and Tuppence books and short stories but I don't remember if there is further detail (view spoiler)


Denise (dulcinea3) | 262 comments Denise wrote: "I've read most of the other Tommy and Tuppence books and short stories but I don't remember if there is further detail [spoilers removed]"

(view spoiler)


Denise (dulcinea3) | 262 comments I found this interesting tidbit in wikipedia:

Around 1941 or 1942, the British intelligence agency MI5 temporarily investigated Christie herself as she had named one of her characters in this novel as a certain Major Bletchley. MI5 was afraid that Christie had a spy in Britain's top-secret codebreaking centre, Bletchley Park. MI5's fears were eventually assuaged when Christie revealed to Dilly Knox (July 1884 – February 1943), who helped break the Enigma machine cypher used by German secret service officers sending spies to Britain that Bletchley was merely the name of "one of my least lovable characters".


Carolyn F. | 4574 comments Mod
I just picked up my library book yesterday. Finally get to finish this book!


Denise (dulcinea3) | 262 comments Carolyn F. wrote: "I just picked up my library book yesterday. Finally get to finish this book!"

Yay - it's about time!


Carol (mansonville) | 55 comments I LOVED the characters of Tommy and Tuppence, such a nice change from Poirot, who I also really like! Still, the mystery didn't grab me until the end and it wasn't one of my favourite Christie books. The 1941 setting, however, is fascinating, with all its strange paranoia and intrigue. Gotta love those "German" features suddenly visible on one of the key suspects!


message 37: by Brad (new) - rated it 4 stars

Brad Friedman | 191 comments Carol wrote: "I LOVED the characters of Tommy and Tuppence, such a nice change from Poirot, who I also really like! Still, the mystery didn't grab me until the end and it wasn't one of my favourite Christie book..."

Ha ha! I totally agree, Carol! The best thing about a Tommy and Tuppence mystery was always.........Tommy and Tuppence. And perhaps the worst thing about Agatha Christie was her unfortunate racist tendency to assign stereotypical characteristics to people from other cultures. I'm happy to let that matter rest, since Christie was a product of her time and place, (and since I don't like Nazi spies any more than the rest of you), but the number of other examples would fill a very long, very uncomfortable, thread.


Carolyn F. | 4574 comments Mod
Finished it last night - so good. I love this "older" marriage. I think my daughters look at my husband and I the same way. Thinks it's more of a handshake relationship.

I can't remember but hope Betty is in their next book, if there's a next book. I'm not looking this up at all right now.


☯Emily  Ginder | 18389 comments Just finished the book and enjoyed it. Really thought Betty was a nice touch to the story. Are there other books by Christie where a baby or toddler played an important role? I also enjoyed how Alfred found Tommy by muddling around aimlessly. Christie's descriptions of her fellow Englishmen were not very complimentary! She has constant zingers about her countrymen.


message 40: by Brad (new) - rated it 4 stars

Brad Friedman | 191 comments ☯Emily is tired of waiting for GR announcement, so now has Booklikes account. wrote: "Just finished the book and enjoyed it. Really thought Betty was a nice touch to the story. Are there other books by Christie where a baby or toddler played an important role? I also enjoyed how ..."

Emily, I think the other baby that pops up in Christie is the one that forms the crux of a story told several times in her books about the woman who points to a fireplace and cries, "Was it your poor child?" This ended up forming the basis of the next Tommy and Tuppence novel, By the Pricking of My Thumbs. Tuppence herself is an excellent mother, but there are several instances of obsessed moms - such as Bella Tanios in Dumb Witness, Gerda Christow in The Hollow, Lucilla Drake in Sparkling Cyanide, and Kait in Death Comes as the End. None of these are particularly likable, and at least one of them turns murderous!!! Evidently, Christie liked her moms to be more pukka sahib British, with a jolly, "hands off" demeanor.


Carol (mansonville) | 55 comments Brad wrote: "Carol wrote: "I LOVED the characters of Tommy and Tuppence, such a nice change from Poirot, who I also really like! Still, the mystery didn't grab me until the end and it wasn't one of my favourite..."

How true that is. Thanks for the comment. I'm finding it fascinating reading these books chronologically, because they take us through some very interesting decades in Britain. The novels are light, but the social context adds another whole layer of interest. I think we have quite a few WWII novels left. I wonder how many she wrote during those war years...


jennifer (mascarawand) | 95 comments I'm still playing catch-up and just finished this one. I liked it. It was a big step away from so many plots of the wealthy family fighting over position and money.
And the twists worked well as T&T were looking for both English double agents and Germans posing as English, which could have been anyone.


Carolyn F. | 4574 comments Mod
I loved this one Jennifer.


Renee | 447 comments I loved this one! Tommy and Tuppence are quickly becoming my favourite characters. Their books are just so fun! Tuppence was very clever setting that trap for Tony Marsden. I was very suspicious about him! Mrs. Sprot didn't sit well with me and after the shoelace incident I had my suspicions about her. Great, fun book. Love Tommy and Tuppence!


Dolly (dollymart) | 777 comments I have a question for the group: Is Anthony Marston in this story the same as the one in "And Then There Were None?" I haven't found any reference to a connection anywhere.


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