The Secret Adversary is a very early Agatha Christie mystery, it was her second published novel. We don’t have Miss Marple or Hercule Poirot to help our sleuthing but two youngsters: Tommy and Tuppence. Tommy is “one of those young Englishmen not distinguished by any special intellectual ability, but who are emphatically at their best in what is known as a tight place.” Tuppence (the nickname of Miss Prudence Cowley) is a modern girl, determined to make her own way in a male dominated world . The pair have been demobbed after the first world war and are looking for adventures with financial reward to the extent of putting an advertisement in the newspaper…and an adventure they get and a few tight places to get out of, too. The book first published in 1922 feels a little dated but it is still a page turner as are her other novels. The young pair, who are adamantly not a couple (but it turns out they really do harbour romantic feelings for the other) face adversaries in the shape of Bolshevists and Irish Sinn Feiners intent on seeding a revolution in England. The novel has a reactionary tone “Every revolution has had its honest men. They are soon disposed of afterwards.” The events unfold shortly after the Easter Rising in Ireland and the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia. Unusually for an Agatha Christie novel, I correctly guessed which character was “the secret adversary” of the title, usually she has me plum foxed. Lumme.
My rating; 4 out of 5