The Secret Adversary, Hardback Book
3.5 out of 5 (2 ratings)


Tommy and Tuppence, two young people short of money and restless for excitement, embark on a daring business scheme - Young Adventurers Ltd.

Their first assignment, for the sinister Mr Whittington, plunges the pair into danger.


  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 320 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Classic crime
  • ISBN: 9780007265152

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Showing 1 - 2 of 2 reviews.

Review by

This is the first Tommy and Tuppence novel, they are not my favourite Christie characters as I do find all the 'old thing' and 'old bean' stuff cliched, but on first release this book sold very well, so it may be that the book has not stood up to the passage of time. It certainly is very much a book of its time and the annoying over exuberance of the characters does reflect a certain post WWI attitude. One nice thing about this book is that Tommy and Tuppence are characterised as equal partners in their adventures, which for 1922 was very progressive.

Review by

In early May 1915 the British luxury liner Lusitania was struck by two German torpedoes and quickly sank 15km off the western coast of Ireland. The prologue of THE SECRET ADVERSARY begins with an American on the Lusitania who is carrying important papers for the American ambassador in London handing these over to a young American girl to complete his mission. Her name is Jane Finn.The story then jumps to a chance meeting near Picadilly in London early in 1919 between Miss Prudence Cowley (Tuppence) and Major Thomas Beresford (Tommy). Both have been involved in the war effort, but the war ended in late 1918 and so did gainful employment.Tuppence and Tommy were childhood friends and met up briefly in 1916 when Tommy was hospitalised and Tuppence was working as a nurse. Over afternoon tea they decide to form a business partnership trading under the name of the Young Adventurers.They decide to place an advertisement in the daily papers saying they are willing to do anything, go anywhere. After they go their separate ways, Tuppence is walking across St. James' Park when a man, who had overheard their conversation in the tea shop, approaches her with the offer of a job.The next morning Tuppence follows up the job offer even though she doesn't particularly like the man making the offer. Unwilling to give her proper name, she gives the name Jane Finn, a name she had heard Tommy refer to on the previous afternoon, simply as a strange name he'd overheard some people discussing. At that the tone of the interview changes and the interviewer, Mr. Whittington, quickly gives Tuppence a large amount of money and arranges to meet her the next day. When Tommy and Tuppence go to keep the appointment the next day, Mr. Whittington has scarpered. Tommy and Tuppence decide to advertise for information about Jane Finn and so the plot gathers pace.This is Agatha Christie's second novel, and the first featuring Tommy and Tuppence, who feature in four other Christie books and one collection of short stories written throughout her writing career.