Enjoy millions of ebooks, audiobooks, magazines, and more

Only $11.99/month after trial. Cancel anytime.

The Secret Adversary

The Secret Adversary

Written by Agatha Christie

Narrated by Penelope Dellaporta


The Secret Adversary

Written by Agatha Christie

Narrated by Penelope Dellaporta

ratings:
3.5/5 (45 ratings)
Length:
10 hours
Publisher:
Released:
Feb 16, 2009
ISBN:
9781400179213
Format:
Audiobook

Also available as...

Also available as ebookEbook

Also available as...

Also available as ebookEbook

Description

Some secret plans have survived the sinking of the Lusitania, and amateur sleuths Tommy and Tuppence are on the trail of international spies in order to recover them. "Young Adventurers Limited" is a brand new private detective agency, set up by the dashing Tommy Beresford and the resourceful Tuppence Cowley. Their first assignment is to track down some secret documents that disappeared after the sinking of the Lusitania. Soon they are on the trail of the mysterious Mr. Brown, the head of an international gang of crooks-and in more danger than they bargained for!
Publisher:
Released:
Feb 16, 2009
ISBN:
9781400179213
Format:
Audiobook

Also available as...

Also available as ebookEbook

About the author

Agatha Christie is the most widely published author of all time, outsold only by the Bible and Shakespeare. Her books have sold more than a billion copies in English and another billion in a hundred foreign languages. She died in 1976, after a prolific career spanning six decades.


Related to The Secret Adversary

Related Audiobooks

Related Articles


Reviews

What people think about The Secret Adversary

3.7
45 ratings / 57 Reviews
What did you think?
Rating: 0 out of 5 stars

Reader reviews

  • (4/5)
    My first Agatha Christie book, and what a proper introduction it was!Thoroughly enjoyed this book. A definite page turner with characters to easily love.
  • (4/5)
    Synopsis: 'In the Prologue, a man quietly gives important papers to a young American woman, as she is more likely to survive the sinking RMS Lusitania in May 1915.In 1919 London, demobilised soldier Tommy Beresford meets war volunteer Prudence "Tuppence" Cowley. They are both out of work and money. They form "The Young Adventurers, Ltd". Mr Whittington follows Tuppence to offer her work. She uses the alias "Jane Finn", which shocks Whittington. He gives her £50 and then disappears. Curious, they advertise for information regarding Jane Finn.The advertisement yields two replies. The first is from Mr Carter, whom Tommy recognises as a British intelligence leader from his war service; he tells them of Jane Finn aboard the Lusitania when it sank. She received a secret treaty to deliver to the American embassy in London. She survived but no trace has since been found of her or the treaty, the publication of which now would compromise the British government. They agree to work for him, despite his warnings of the dangerous Mr Brown. The second reply is from Julius Hersheimmer, an American multimillionaire and first cousin of Jane Finn, staying at the Ritz Hotel. Intent on finding her, he has already contacted Scotland Yard; Inspector Brown took his only photo of Jane, before a real inspector contacted him. They join forces with Julius, too.'Review: This is the first of the Tommy and Tuppence mysteries and it's a good one.
  • (4/5)
    Considering she is THE bestselling author (only surpassed in copies sold by William Shakespeare and the Bible), it shouldn't be surprising that I have only scratched the surface in reading the work of Agatha Christie. And yet, I found myself a little surprised to stumble upon the adventures of Tommy and Tuppence in her second novel, The Secret Adversary. The pair of adventurers were featured in four novels and a bunch of short stories but they are overshadowed by Christie's mainstays Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple. Perhaps it was because they felt so different from Christie's other works, but I found myself really drawn into the story and had a lot of fun with this novel.The Secret Adversary is set (mostly) in London shortly after the conclusion of World War One. It begins with a conversation between two friends, Tommy and Prudence (who goes by Tuppence) as they bemoan their lack of fortunes and try to come up with ways to secure themselves financially. On a whim, they decide to take out an advertisement in the paper and hire themselves out as Young Adventurers "willing to do anything, go anywhere." Before the ad has even run, Tuppence is surprised to find herself approached by a strange man who overheard the pair and wants to hire them but who then inexplicably gets angry and fleas when she gives him a false name, Jane Finn. The next day they take out another advertisement regarding Jane Finn and they are quickly flung into a mystery adventure that threatens to topple the British government.The main conflict in the book revolves around post-war political machinations. Specifically, a group of 'Bolshevists' are working a plot to overthrow the current government and seize power. This multinational plot hinges on the existence of an unknown treaty kept safe by a missing young woman named Jane Finn. Tommy and Tuppence are hired to find Jane Finn and recover the treaty before the enemy can use the treaty to expose and topple the government. Not being a strong history buff, I had a hard time deciding just exactly what this treaty could contain that would do all it claimed possible but I set that aside and just let the MacGuffin serve its purpose in giving our heroes and villains something to search for.The plot maneuvered itself around England, thrusting our young adventurers into one problem after another. The threads of the story grew more and more intricate as new locations and characters made their appearance. Christie did an excellent job dropping clues and foreshadowing to help the reader root for the heroes and try to predict the mysterious mastermind behind the struggle. I found myself changing my guesses a couple of times before the solution finally became clear. Even at the very end, the author threw in a couple of twists and turns late in the story to try and lead the reader down one path or another. Sometimes I find misdirection like this annoying. In this book, I felt like they were very well done and felt like a natural progression of events rather than like the author was trying to hide something from us (even though she was, which is the case with any mystery).I had a lot of fun with the main adventure plot but I felt like the real draw of the story was the characters, particularly the interactions between Tommy and Tuppence. At first, they felt a little stereotypical to me (and some aspects of that remains if looked at from a high level) but I enjoyed the way they were fleshed out throughout the story. Their behaviors and motivations were great and felt really well defined. This lead to a great progression of plot where the course of action felt like the logical and natural course for the characters to follow. I especially loved the dialog. The quick witted banter of Tuppence was delightful and the back-and-forth, particularly between she and Tommy, was great fun.On the whole, I really enjoyed this book. The characters felt fresh and fun. The writing was solid and flowed well. The pacing was good at keeping the action going while still slowing down enough for logical exposition and moments of insight to let the reader delve into the mystery themselves. The plot was laid out logically with just enough information withheld to keep the solution at bay while also revealing enough to let the reader feel wise and informed. Reading this makes me want to seek out more adventures of Tommy and Tuppence. Fortunately, there are more to be found.****4 out of 5 stars
  • (4/5)
    The intrepid young Tommy and his childhood friend known as Tuppence embark on a dangerous journey to find a missing young woman, and trace some important documents. They become involved in a mostly political gang, headed by the unknown and ruthless 'Mr Brown'.... This was Agatha Christie's second published novel, and a thriller more than a mystery. I guessed Mr Brown's identity before I was half-way through, though at first I assumed it was a standard Christie red herring. This made the story all the more tense, although - having finished - I realise it's all somewhat unrealistic. Much of the political discussion went rather over my head, too. However, the main characters are fairly well-rounded, some of the conversation amusing, and the whole an exciting story which I could hardly put down in the final chapters. Recommended if you like light crime fiction from the 1920s.
  • (4/5)
    Jane Finn, a young woman surviving the sinking of the Lusitania, disappears while holding onto an important document which was slipped to her as she was leaving the ship.

    Tommy & Tuppence form the "Young Adventurers Ltd." and take on the dangerous job of finding the missing Jane Finn & the document before it is used by the government's "Secret Adversary" to create another European war.

    Very suspenseful with many Red Herrings, naivete, & romance.....
  • (5/5)
    Rip roaring good yarn!! The master at work, Dame Agatha had me going until the end. I thought I had it all figured out but she got me again.Excellent WWI setting and historical action!
  • (5/5)
    my copy, only a few years old, is falling apart from use
  • (4/5)
    The Secret Adversary is cleverly written, with a lot of suspense, but it drags on if you have early figured out whothe mysterious Mr. Brown actually is. It also offers a fairy tale ending with little to suggest a sequel.
  • (4/5)
    I am a huge fan of Agatha Christie - both Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot but had never read her Tommy and Tuppence series.Even though this series is set back in the earlier part of the 20th century, it was still entertaining and the characters were totally what you expect from Dame Agatha Christie. I am glad that I finally started this classic series and look forward to getting to know these characters as well as Christie's others.
  • (3/5)
    This was the first Agatha Christie novel featuring Tommy and Tuppence as sleuths (of only four such, plus a collection of short stories). This was her second ever novel, published in 1922, and is redolent of the atmosphere of the time. To the modern reader, Tommy and Tuppence sound like 1920s stereotypes with their hyper-enthusiastic dialogue. The social mores feel only just post-Great War, with Tuppence being at the forefront of a generation of more assertive women, having done front line nursing during the war (I must record one comment on Tuppence's dress which is hilarious by modern standards, "her extremely short and rather shabby skirt revealed a pair of uncommonly dainty ankles"). The plot concerns some top secret diplomatic papers supposedly passed onto a survivor of the Lusitania by a secret agent who drowned in the sinking of the torpedoed ship, and the attempt by the authorities and others to locate them now the war is over to avoid unpleasant consequences. The hostiles attempting to seize the papers are a mixture of a mysterious "Mr Brown", Germans and Russian Bolsheviks, the latter of whom are allegedly using the British Labour Party in order to foment revolution in Britain (shades of the infamous forged "Zinoviev letter" published by the Daily Mail on the eve of the 1924 general election, which was held - though not necessarily accurately - to be the main reason why that election saw the defeat of the first minority Labour government). The way this hangs together is not convincing, but the novel is the usual page turner, with red herrings along the way as to the identity of "Mr Brown" (which I didn't find plausible). Not one of Christie's stronger novels.
  • (3/5)
    More of a spy thriller than a traditional cozy whodunit from Christie, this is the first of the short Tommy and Tuppence series and deals with efforts to recover some diplomatic papers that were lost during WWI and which could cause all sorts of problems for England if they fall into the wrong hands in 1919 (when the story takes place). Not a bad effort, but a major table-setting plot point pushes suspension of disbelief to its limits, and the main red herring here was so obvious that it almost served as an anti-herring. Unless one was willing to believe that the person involved was beyond stupid, which I was not inclined to do.
  • (3/5)
    I came close to giving this 4 stars but there are a few things that let me down in the plot. First, the identity of Mr. Brown was obvious from the moment he appears (or maybe it was just that way for me) despite repeated attempts to cast another character for the part. Second, the thrust of the plot is very much a product of its time and seems slightly trivial roughly a century later. Still, it was enjoyable and Agatha Christie here shows all the early signs of what she, at the time, was yet to be... the Queen of Mystery!
  • (5/5)
    The Secret Adversary (1922) (Tommy & Tuppence #1) by Agatha Christie. The first and the best of the Tommy & Tuppence stories, this book features a truly secret adversary in the form of Mr. Brown. Throughout the tale our young, intrepid heroes must overcome a heinous cadre of evil doers in order to protect England, and the common worker, from the horrors of Labour unrest and red communism. And there is a nifty opening act set aboard the doomed Lusitania.There are Bolshevists and American Millionaires (as we know all Americans are) toting guns and threatening to use them. Spies seem to lurk in every shadow and a top secret document is at the center of all the intrigue.Tommy andTuppence themselves are a reflection of the young adult of the time, but a bit more footloose than normal. Back from the Great War they are bored and restless and looking for adventure.Man do they find it.A nice bit of escapist mystery telling with a bang-up ending that will have you wondering til the final pages. If you haven’t read this part of Christie’s oeuvre it is time to do so.
  • (2/5)
    I’ve long held an animus against Agatha Christie’s Tommy and Tuppence novels. Although I’m equally fond of Poirot and Miss Marple, and although I have enjoyed several of Christie’s stand-alone novels that lean more toward the spy or thriller genres than toward conventional murder mystery, I had never been able to finish a T &T book. The combination of a holiday with several long plane journeys and a free copy of The Secret Adversary coming out from copyright and on to Project Gutenberg motivated me to address this deficiency once and for all.And so I did. That is, I did manage to plow through Adversary, right to the very end. But did so doing change my mind about this series? No, I’m afraid there I must report failure.This story of wartime espionage carried out by plucky and amusing amateurs has its moments, but there’s something that’s just off kilter in its combination of portentous plot with lighthearted badinage and flirtation. Tommy and Tuppence’s mission to thwart geopolitical catastrophe feels too often like Hello Kitty and Garfield being thrown into the Labyrinth to take on the Minotaur.We should all be very glad indeed Christie didn’t waste too much time working this vein. Not recommended.
  • (3/5)
    First of the Tommy and Tuppence books. It's shortly after the end of the Great War, and a pair of bright young things are finding peacetime both rather boring and rather financially restrictive. They decide to advertise themselves as "The young Adventurers", in the hope of finding a job. There follow many adventures in pursuit of a missing document, served with a large helping of fun and an even larger helping of red herrings. The politics are somewhat eyebrow-raising, but a reflection of the time when the book was written. I didn't find this as appealing as the Marple and Poirot stories, but it was a pleasant enough way to spend a few hours. It's still in print, but also now out of copyright in some countries and thus available on various public domain sites.
  • (3/5)
    When I was a teenager, I just read whichever Agatha Christie novels I stumbled across, at home or at the library. At first I didn't know that The Secret Adversary, even existed... and then I couldn't find it. (And then I went to university and stopped reading Christie, because there were so many other things to read.)The Secret Adversary is an espionage thriller rather than a murder mystery. It required more suspension of disbelief I remember any of Christie's murder mysteries needing - I'm sure that a real underworld organisation of that ilk would be much more ruthless, and that amateurs investigating would need to be a bit less naive if they were to survive relatively unscathed.I also thought the prose was a bit less - polished. Which would make sense, since this is also one of Christie's earliest novels, and presumably she grew as a writing during the following 50 years.However Tommy and Tuppence are delightfully enthusiastic and they were the reason I kept picking the book back up again."Have you anything to say before you are put to death as a spy?" "Simply lots of things," replied Tommy with the same urbanity as before. "Do you deny that you were listening at the door?" "I I do not. I must really apologise - but your conversation was so interesting that it overcame my scruples."
  • (4/5)
    A little bit too complicated for poor old me, but the Tuppence protagonist is a dear.
  • (4/5)
    The author's second novel and my second Agatha Christie book. Simple characters and story, but still had a clever twist.
  • (2/5)
    Book #2 of Agatha Christie's mysteries is completed. I like Tommy and Tuppence and I think it's a shame that they don't appear in more of her books. That said, the plot of this one is so ludicrous, I couldn't stop laughing... but I guess in 1922 it was what passed as literature for the masses.
  • (4/5)
    What do you do when you are in need of money? You set yourself up as an investigator who will do anything. Then you land yourself in a situation that offers you plenty of reward for you effort, even though you don't know what you are doing. That's the story of two people in need of money following the first world war. An adventurous book with lots happening and very little time spent on describing how wonderful the clouds look. An enjoyable read that gets you in and drags you along.
  • (4/5)
    *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 Agatha Christie neglected her less popular characters, instead being bent on milking Poirot dry. These adventuresome spy novels of hers are a delight to read. I had no problem with Tommy and Tuppence, they were fine too. I remember quite a few Christie novels to which I gave 5 stars and they weren't perfect, so I'm sticking to my guns.
  • (4/5)
    Tommy & Tuppance were so delightful to watch on PBS Mystery Series.
    Nice book to carry around in my purse for awhile for fill in reading.
    It's Agatha - I Love it !
  • (4/5)
    I found this Nadia May narration much enhanced my enjoyment of this first Tommy and Tuppence book. Also, my admiration for Christie's writing is greater with this reread as she managed to keep me guessing even though I thought I remembered the solution. Her red herrings were so plausible I kept second-guessing myself thinking I had mis-remembered it!
  • (5/5)
    The plot may be unrealistic, the mystery transparent, and the characters stereotyped, but I love this book. To me, it succeeds perfectly, if unintentionally, at capturing the mood of the post-WWI period, including its ugly underside: poverty, uncertainty, newfound cynicism, xenophobia, and fear of social upheaval. Tommy and Tuppence, two bright young things recently demobbed from WWI activities, meet by chance and sit down to discuss their lives over a cup of tea. Neither have fared well in the post-war world, but that hasn't dimmed Tuppence's sangfroid. Prodded by Tuppence, the two decide to start list themselves as "Young Adventurers, Ltd:" and put a notice in the Times:

    Two young adventurers for hire. Willing to do anything, go anywhere. Pay must be good. No unreasonable offer refused.

    And thus their fantastic, enjoyable adventure into the (totally unrealistically portrayed) world of espionage begins.

    I think Tommy and Tuppence make an adorable detective duo: Tommy is the steady, solid, unimaginative one while Tuppence adds spice and verve. I positively adore Tuppence. When you consider some of the other portrayals of women of the time period, the enthusiastic, outspoken Tuppence is fresh and fun.

    However, I think what I really love about the book is how well the narrator's voice captures the atmosphere of the times, and how this mood strongly influences the plot of the story. After fighting "The War to End All Wars", people have come back home to find that all's still not right with the world. They begin to realize that their sacrifices haven't routed out all evils and that the world will never return to the way it was before the War. During the War, the strict class system and gender roles were shaken, and now there is tension between those who see the new world as an opportunity to gain equality and reactionaries who cling to the past. Yet the king-and-country idealism is not yet dead, and the propaganda that drove a nation to war not yet fully disproved. It seems to me that the idealism is breaking up, but many people, including Agatha Christie herself, are still in vociferous denial. The book portrays an uprising of the lower classes as the ultimate evil, engineered by Bad Men (aka non-English) who have evil designs upon the noble upright British hover for spoiler--a classic reactionary perspective and phobia. Agatha Christie has an interesting voice here. She was herself of middle to lower class and was the earner of her family, but she still seeks a return to the status quo of a rigid class system and gender roles, and this nostalgia is tangible in the story.

    The Secret Adversary is a light-hearted and entertaining romp on one level, and on another, a fascinating glimpse of the mood and fears of the postwar era. Altogether, it's a very interesting book, to be contrasted with contemporary works such as Whose Body?(more jaded) and Rilla of Ingleside(depressingly idealistic).
  • (1/5)
    Quite poor. There are some clues...but all the characters are so feckless and portentous. It's an interesting artifact of its time, 1922. Agatha Christie is staunchly conservative and very anti-communist."Whose Body" by Dorothy Sayers came out just a year later and was a good deal smarter. Of course, it was an actual mystery, not a suspense-cum-mystery novel.
  • (3/5)
    A bit lighter version of Agatha Christie's mysteries centering on Tommy and Tuppence who advertise themselves as detectives and end up in an adventure they could not have imagined. Good entertainment.
  • (3/5)
    It's been a long time since I last read Agatha Christie, but I enjoyed this book as much as I did the ones I've read before. It's a fun, fast-paced adventure that is quick and easy to read.
  • (3/5)
    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 sensationalist and dated elements, has an excellent form. We are told quite frankly in the first few chapters that we will meet the Bad Guy before we know that he IS the Bad Guy-- and then we spend the rest of the book trying to figure out which of the characters he is. Very good, in that regard. Also, as in all good Christie, everyone's got their fingers in the pot somehow-- she manages to keep each character's critical discoveries secret from us until the end-- but even though we're lagging far behind most of the characters, we don't feel stupid because we, as the readers, have our own theories that we don't necessarily want to be spoiled.
  • (3/5)


    Another good page turner.
    Nice to read about the beginning of Tommy and Tuppence.
  • (4/5)

    1 person found this helpful

    Down-on-their-luck, a young couple hire themselves out as investigators.

    "The Secret Adversary" was Christie’s second novel, coming on the heels of seminal murder mystery "The Mysterious Affair at Styles". It was an unusual choice, combining detective and spy stories with a giddy, light-hearted feel. Most of her thrillers would fail in part for being too dour; those like "The Secret of Chimneys" and "Why Didn’t They Ask Evans?" that allow for some humour tend to succeed – at least, relatively so.

    Tommy Beresford and Prudence “Tuppence” Cowley are delightful and easy-going, suitably young, modern people in post-WWI England. It’s perhaps the best of Christie’s “thrillers”, and certainly the best of Tommy and Tuppence’s canon. Christie would revisit them sporadically over the next fifty years – and they would age along with the real world – but none of their remaining books would shine like this one; a real pity.

    Ultimately, the light-hearted nature of the piece doesn’t destroy the tension, but it certainly muffles it. And whenever Christie tried international intrigue, there was inevitably the feeling that she was making it all up as she went along. Still, "The Secret Adversary" is a lively romp, worthy of a fan’s interest.

    1 person found this helpful