I went through a phase of reading Agatha Christie many years ago and read through all the Miss Marple books, but I’d never picked up anything else of hers. The Secret Adversary is an Agatha Christie book I’d never heard of, which just happened to be among the 100 free books you get with a Kobo. When, as referenced in my last post, I tragically ran out of e-books on our trip to Europe, I started trolling through the Kobo’s freebies and found this.
It’s a fun little mystery/thriller set in 1920s London, starring neither Miss Marple nor Hercule Poirot nor any other skilled detective, but Tuppence and Tommy, two rather hapless young adults who, at a loss for well-paying employment in the upheaval of the postwar world, decide to set themselves up as “adventurers” without any very clear idea of what that might mean. Of course, as happens in such novels, their plans are overheard by someone who quickly gets them embroiled in a very big adventure indeed — one which involves spies, international conspiracies, and a missing woman ends up being potentially quite dangerous. Eventually the plot is unravelled, disaster averted, and, as a bonus, romance blooms. It’s all a bit of fun, in some places more like P.G. Wodehouse than Agatha Christie (though not quite as ridiculous or hilarious) and it’s also interesting as a slice of life from a particular historical era. It’s interesting, for example, to see a writer speculate (even as a fictional device) on the great Bolshevik plot behind the English labour movement in the 1920s, and on the frustration of young middle-class women who had found meaningful work during the war years and had no desire to return to being dutiful daughters aftewards. I enjoyed this book quite a bit, and was interested to find that Christie wrote more Tuppence/Tommy stories, which I may have to track down.