Agatha Christie: Tommy and Tuppence

Tomorrow night sees the start of a new six part series on BBC1 – Partners in Crime. According to the Radio Times the episodes are loosely based on The Secret Adversary, the first of the Tommy and Tuppence stories and N or M?, the third story.

But, as I have come to expect with TV/film adaptations, this is not the original story as the action has been transposed from 1922 and 1940 (the original settings of these two books) to the 1950s. Still I have great hopes for the series, with David Walliams as Tommy and Jessica Raine as Tuppence, although I’m wondering what else has been changed.

This is what I wrote about The Secret Adversary in January 2011:

The Secret Adversary was first published in 1922. It was Agatha Christie’s second book and the first featuring Tommy and Tuppence. In this book they have just met up after World War One, both in their twenties: ‘˜an essentially modern-looking couple’. They are both stony broke and decide to set up a joint venture under the name of the Young Adventurers Ltd, initially intending to hire themselves out to commit crimes.

A Mr Whittington overhears their conversation and offers Tuppence their first assignment, but when she tells him her name is ‘˜Jane Finn’ he acts very strangely and thinks she is blackmailing him. From then on Tommy and Tuppence set out to find Jane Finn, a name Tommy had overheard from a conversation in the street.

Reading it reminded somewhat of Enid Blyton’s adventure books, mixed up with P G Wodehouse’s books. It’s a spy/detective story that is fast and furious with Tommy and Tuppence landing themselves in all sorts of dangerous situations. It’s also full of red herrings and they’re never very sure who they can trust. Tommy and Tuppence advertise for information relating to Jane Finn and have two responses. One is from Mr Carter, from British Intelligence who tells them that Jane Finn, a survivor from the torpedoed Lusitania, was handed a certain document ‘“ a secret agreement, with a ‘˜new and deadly significance’. The second response is from Mr Julius P Hersheimmer, a young American, who says he is Jane’s cousin and wants to find her.

Just who is the mysterious Mr Brown, the secretive mastermind behind a plot to unite all of England’s enemies, overthrow the government and cause anarchy?  There is no clue to his real identity, he remains elusive and always in the background. But it becomes clear that he is one of two people and as I read I swung from believing it to be one character to the other.

One point of interest is the brief mention of Inspector Japp, of Scotland Yard. His role in this is merely incidental.

I enjoyed this book and I liked Tommy and Tuppence, who by the end realise they are in love. Agatha Christie only wrote five books featuring this couple. Unlike Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot, Tommy and Tuppence age as the books were written (links to my posts):

Format: Kindle Edition
File Size: 378 KB
Print Length: 229 pages
Source: Project Gutenberg E-Book

12 thoughts on “Agatha Christie: Tommy and Tuppence

  1. Oh right, I didn’t realise they’d shifted the time-period. I read The Secret Adversary back in Feb. and really enjoyed it. We shall see how the shifting has affected it. Interesting. I’m greatly looking forward to it I must say.


  2. OK, I have a confession. I have never been partial to Tommy and Tuppence. Why is that? I’m not really sure. I do know that I one of their books as the first AC book I ever tried. Can’t remember if it was #4 or #5. And somehow it didn’t suit. I almost didn’t read any more Christie, but I think I picked up a Miss Marple next. That did it. 🙂


  3. Never having read any of their stories, I am coming to the programme with no preconceived ideas other than I know it’s Agatha Christie and having watched some much older adaptations with my mum, with I think Francesa Annis?


  4. I have The Secret Adversary on my Kindle to read. I have seen the adverts for the BBC’s new series but not sure about watching it. Doesn’t seem to be grabbing me but then again I also have too much recorded to watch already! If you watch it, I hope you enjoy it.


  5. I haven’t read any of them but I remember watching an ITV series years ago with I think Francesca Annis as Tuppence. It was beautifully set and dressed, very art deco, so I was surprised when I watched the BBC episode tonight, much more down market, and of course WW2, but I quite enjoyed it.


  6. Pingback: Partners in Crime – The Secret Adversary: Tommy and Tuppence | BooksPlease

Comments are closed.