Book Review: The Secret Adversary by Agatha Christie

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I am hosting an Agatha Christie Readathon on my blog in April 2018 where we are reading one of her books each week. The first book up, The Secret Adversary, is the initial entry in the Tommy & Tuppence cozy mystery series she’s written. Although I’ve read a bunch of her novels, I hadn’t read anything in this particular series, so I was glad that one of them won the poll to choose our books that I had set up earlier this year.

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In this caper, Tommy and Tuppence, ~22 year old somewhat poor residents of London around 1920, are bored enough to form a partnership where they will agree to do anything legal to obtain a salary. Tuppence wants to marry rich. Tommy doesn’t care. You kinda know they have to end up together, right? A mysterious man overhears their conversation and asks them for help in finding Jane Finn who disappeared when the Lusitania sank nearly five years earlier. She was given a very important government paper by a pseudo-spy who died in the tragedy, but Jane seems to have lost her memory. No one can find her, but there are several ne’er-to-do-wells and government spies searching for her. Though WW1 is over now, if anyone finds out what was written in the papers, it might just ignite another battle. Tommy & Tuppence take the case, but soon find themselves baffled by all the different stories they hear. When they separate to get more done, each is kidnapped and nearly killed for knowing nothing but really knowing something. Then Jane’s American cousin helps with the search and leads are finally flooding in around them. Now the little sleuthing pair are on their own and unable to determine who’s telling the truth. Think you can? I actually solved this one.

Christie is remarkable when it comes to creating suspense, intrigue, and drama in her books. Although the story started off a tad peculiar to me, I slowly became fascinated by how different things were nearly 100 years ago. Between the phrases used to describe people, the quick allegiance people swore to one another, and the methods for doing research, it was outstanding. Sometimes I laughed at their silly tactics, others I thought they made no sense. But it was a different time and place, and under those contexts, it actually made perfect sense.

Tommy & Tuppence themselves are also weird. They speak in terms of puzzles, but seem to understand one another. They wish for things they don’t need but join forces in a venture that initially makes no sense. I was worried… even thought… did I make a mistake giving this book a chance? But I knew how much people adored them, so I pushed forward and by about 20% in, the book takes on a much more standard mystery and suspense tone.

The ending was very well written. The plot is thorough but leaves a lot to the imagination. Do we really ever find out what’s written in the government documents? Do we know exactly who kidnapped each of the sleuths? Do we know whether every character was purely good or evil? Not really… there is a bit of vagueness going on, but it doesn’t hurt the story. Readers will more than likely fall in love with the duo, get caught up in determining which is the true bad guy, and grow puzzled in trying to decide which information to trust and which information is just a red herring.

It’s fun to read these capers. It’s less about the language and more about the approach to solving a crime. So sit back and relax… let the author dazzle you with her story… and let go of the normal constructs you expect in a mystery novel. I’m going with 4 stars on this one, as I’d more than recommend it, but there were some things I felt could have been handled better. That said… I look forward to reading more in the Tommy & Tuppence series, but that will have to wait. Next week’s book is from the Hercule Poirot collection. Join us if you can!

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Background on the Agatha Christie Readathon

I’m an avid mystery reader and one of my favorite authors is Agatha Christie. I shared a post on this wonderful writer several months ago and have a dedicated page to her on my blog. Click on both links to see what I’ve read or said in the past. I’m holding an Agatha Christie Readathon in April. For more information, click the link and see the background and guidelines below. Essentially, we will read 1 book for each week in April 2018, then post our reviews.  You can join in and read with us — either 1, 2, 3 or all 4 weeks! The goal is to revisit an old favorite, connect with new bloggers, and share the love we have for this fantastic author. Voting in the pools was held from 3/1 thru 3/14, and the results are in for which books we will read in April:

  • The Secret Adversary (Other) – Read By 4/6, Post Review on 4/7 (Week 1)
  • Peril at End House (Poirot) – Read By 4/13, Post Review on 4/14 (Week 2)
  • The Body in the Library (Re-Read) – Read By 4/20, Post Review on 4/21 (Week 3)
  • Murder at the Vicarage (Marple) – Read By 4/27, Post Review on 4/28 (Week 4)

If you’re interested, please respond below in the comments with which weeks or books you want to read. I will create a separate page for each one and list all the sites where you can find the reviews. You will post the review on your site, and I’ll link it from that page so everyone can see them!

Please share with your followers so we have even more participation. Thanks!

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Below is the structure and guidelines of the April Agatha Christie Readathon:

  • In April 2018, we will read 4 books written by Agatha Christie.
  • We will follow a schedule (6 days to read, 1 day to post review):
    • We read the first book from Sun 4/1 thru Fri 4/6, then post reviews on Sat 4/7. It will be from a non-series book I haven’t read.
    • We read the second book from Sun 4/8 thru Fri 4/13, then post reviews on Sat 4/14. It will be a book from the Hercule Poirot series.
    • We read the third book from Sun 4/15 thru Fri 4/20, then post reviews on Sat 4/21. It will be a book I’ve already read but I will re-read another time.
    • We read the fourth book from Sun 4/22 thru Fri 4/27, then post reviews on Sat 4/28. It will be a book from the Miss Marple series.
  • You can read only one week, a few weeks, or all four weeks — your choice.
  • Reviews/Posts can be any format, but you will link back to my main page where I will then list all the blogs or websites who are participating so that everyone can find your reviews.

hristie

 

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My debut novel, Watching Glass Shatter, can be purchased on Amazon @ http://mybook.to/WGS. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

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38 thoughts on “Book Review: The Secret Adversary by Agatha Christie

    Beware Of The Reader said:
    April 7, 2018 at 3:38 AM

    I read so many of her books as a teen Jay! She is (was) the queen of crime stories.

    Liked by 1 person

    Priyasha said:
    April 7, 2018 at 5:22 AM

    I TOTALLY LOVED THIS BOOK……
    GREAT REVIEW

    Liked by 1 person

    Heidi M. Simone said:
    April 7, 2018 at 5:27 AM

    Great review and great book choice!! I really enjoyed it. Let me know if you my link worked. Can’t wait for the next one!

    Liked by 1 person

    kathyscottage said:
    April 7, 2018 at 8:08 AM

    YAY! I love Tommy & Tuppence. Good choice! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    thebookwormdrinketh said:
    April 7, 2018 at 8:28 AM

    I LOVE Agatha Christie but I can’t seem to recall whether I’ve ever read this one! I’ll definitely have to look into it. I like the idea of Tommy and Tuppence speaking in puzzles.

    Liked by 1 person

    Excellent review Jay! This is one of the few Agatha Christie books I haven’t read, so I’m definitely checking it out now.😊

    Liked by 1 person

    lisarey1990 said:
    April 7, 2018 at 11:45 AM

    Great review.

    Liked by 1 person

    robbiesinspiration said:
    April 7, 2018 at 12:01 PM

    I have not hear of this book but my Mom says this was a very popular TV series in the UK in her day. Great review, Jay.

    Liked by 1 person

    moorezart said:
    April 7, 2018 at 2:28 PM

    Reblogged this on From 1 Blogger 2 Another.

    Liked by 1 person

    tahenryauthoress said:
    April 7, 2018 at 4:24 PM

    my review is up. Thanks for pushing me reread.
    https://wordpress.com/post/tahenryauthoress.wordpress.com/10068

    Liked by 1 person

    scr4pl80 said:
    April 7, 2018 at 5:29 PM

    […] awesome Jay Cudney is hosting an Agatha Christie Readathon! The plan is simple. We have a week to read one of […]

    Liked by 1 person

    The Cozy Pages said:
    April 7, 2018 at 9:17 PM

    Did not know about this set. But that story definitely sounds intriguing.

    Liked by 1 person

    Tamara Hoerner said:
    April 8, 2018 at 12:24 PM
    Lisa@LismorePaperCo. said:
    April 8, 2018 at 4:06 PM

    I have not read this one, but I will be picking it up tomorrow 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    Book Admirer said:
    April 8, 2018 at 10:36 PM

    I’m a day late but I just finished my review. 🙂 https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/59137787/posts/1820790255

    Liked by 1 person

      James J. Cudney IV responded:
      April 8, 2018 at 10:38 PM

      Hi! I will read and have this linked first thing in the morning. No worries!!! I just got into bed and can’t link on my phone or i’d do it right now. By 9 tomorrow! Looking forward to it.

      Liked by 1 person

    Dani☆Touch My Spine Book Reviews☆ said:
    April 9, 2018 at 12:50 AM

    Awesome Review, Jay!😀

    Liked by 1 person

    Rae Longest said:
    April 9, 2018 at 7:00 PM

    Thanks for the exceptional review. I’m not really a big enough Agatha Christi fan to participate in the Read-A-Thon of her works, but I am certainly enjoying reading ABOUT her books. She was, indeed, a skilled, accomplished author.

    Liked by 1 person

    […] awesome Jay Cudney is hosting an Agatha Christie Readathon! The plan is simple. We have a week to read one of […]

    Liked by 1 person

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