“The Secret Adversary” by Agatha Christie
Genre: Adult Fiction, Mystery
Summary from Goodreads:
Full of energy and short of funds, old chums Tommy Beresford and Tuppence Cowley decide to form the “Young Adventurers,” and advertise themselves as willing to “go anywhere and do anything.” Asked by a British Intelligence official to find a woman named Jane Finn, who disappeared with sensitive government documents, they soon find that their whimsical idea has drawn them into a complicated web of intrigue, intelligence agents, dubious identities, missing government papers, false clues — and all-too-real danger.
I really didn’t know what to expect going in to this book. I had never read an Agatha Christie book before. I had this idea in my head that Christie’s books would be boring and stiff like some old books can be.
I was very pleasantly surprised that the book wasn’t stiff or boring. I liked Tommy and Tuppence. The start of the book set the tone of the book for me. We have the two characters catching up. Like many other young twenty-somethings, they’re complaining about not having money and not being able to find jobs. Tuppence jokes that maybe she should just marry rich.
As silly as it sounds I found their jokes and sarcasm made them completely relatable. It’s nice to know that people from 90 years ago had a similar sense of humor as we do today. It’s just one of those pleasant reminders that even though many things change, some things always stay the same. I just wish there was more sarcasm and witty comebacks between the two of them in the book.
I didn’t really enjoy the mystery. I’m really not a huge fan of government mysteries. It’s not that the mystery aspect of the story was poorly written, I would just rather read a “personal” mystery or a murder mystery and not one that involves the government.
One of the things that confused me with the book was how easy it was for Tommy and Tuppence to become involved with the mystery. Characters had no problem telling these kids they met off the streets all about the papers that could potentially bring countries to war and getting them involved with the mystery. Doesn’t that seem like something you’d keep a bit more hush-hush? Not to mention it seemed to me that Tommy and Tuppence were just being nosy more than anything. They’re unemployed so naturally playing detective is the next logical step, right? Maybe it’s more of a “cultural” thing and back then people were a bit more loose with information. I guess it could just be a literary tool to get the story rolling. I don’t know. It’s just one of those things that always bothers me in mystery books/movies.
Christie’s style was enjoyable. It was straight forward, fairly easy reading which I appreciated. There was a good deal of witty remarks and sarcasm galore dashed throughout the story which makes me happy.
It was an enjoyable enough story. I would definitely read another one of her stories, just not another government mystery.