Book Review – The Secret Adversary (Tommy and Tuppence Mysteries #1) by Agatha Christie

⭐ ⭐ ⭐

Tuppence and Tommy are dear friends (who are in love but not talking about it) looking for a means of making money. They have few skills but much enthusiasm, and so, decide to put themselves out for whatever jobs come along – the first of which being a missing persons’ case.

I have to say, I was surprised by this one. Having read Agatha Christie’s first novel, ‘The Mysterious Affair at Styles’ just about a month ago (and having decided to read everything she ever wrote, based on that first novel), I found ‘The Secret Adversary’ rather amateurish.

I promise, that is not a word I throw around lightly.

Sadly, this work reads like a first novel. Rather too many instances of – some expression – as the character liked to say. For example:
“She had not the faintest comprehension of his meaning, but she was naturally quick-witted, and felt it imperative to ‘keep her end up’ as she phrased it.”
From Chapter II, Mr. Whittington’s Offer, The Secret Adversary by Agatha Christie

(The character never uses that phrase again)

It lacks the clear, crisp execution of a Poirot and is missing the charisma I’d so quickly grown to expect. There’s lots of repetition and an impossible number of characters to keep track of.

I suspect I wouldn’t have cared much for this story in any case, but there were a good number of formatting errors, which really didn’t help. In many places, the back-and-forth between two characters took place in the same paragraph, which was hard on the eye and made it tricky to remember who was talking, especially in scenes containing more than two characters, and yet more so when whoever was responding was referred to as ‘the other’. Which was all the time.

There were also missing spaces between words, one of which truly stopped me in my tracks…
“Heusheredthemintoaroomatthebackofthehouse,furnished as a library.”
From Chapter XII, A Friend In Need, The Secret Adversary by Agatha Christie

Although I do plan to continue on my quest to read every Christie ever printed, this one wasn’t for me. A shame, though I have no doubt, there’s better to come. Does make me wonder if she went back and rewrote ‘The Mysterious Affair at Styles’ when her writing was more self-assured.