The Secret Adversary is the first book in a brief series by Agatha Christie starring Tommy and Tuppence. The series consists of only five books, and one of those is a short story collection. This book was published in 1922 and was only Christie's second novel. Tommy and Tuppence are two young adventurers, out of work and running out of money in the months following World War I.
I was aware when I began reading this book that a lot of Agatha Christie fans do not consider it one of her better works. Even Robert Barnard had unkind words for the Tommy and Tuppence in his appreciation of Agatha Christie, A Talent to Deceive, calling them "everyone's least favorite Christie sleuths," although he considered this book the best of that series.
I remember reading some of the Tommy and Tuppence series when I was younger, and those books were among my favorites. So I wanted to give this book a try. And I was very happy with the results. Tommy and Tuppence did not disappoint me.
The Secret Adversary is an espionage thriller. The story is not as serious as today's espionage books; the issues are more black and white. I see it more as a lighthearted entertainment. There is a love story, which of course ends happily.
Tommy and Tuppence meet accidentally, discuss their unhappy situations, and decide to join forces to hire themselves out as adventurers. Even before they put out an advertisement, Tuppence is accosted by a man who proposes to hire her. Then he turns out to be part of a nefarious plot to find and expose a draft treaty which could compromise the British government. Soon they are involved with British intelligence and other persons interested in tracking down the young woman who was carrying the treaty.
The plot gets very complicated very quickly. Most of the action and events are either foolhardy or unbelievable, but I found it was fun and kept me entertained. I like Tuppence because she was a strong female character, spoke her mind, and was not afraid to lead the way. I liked Tommy because he was not brilliant but he had common sense.
This is the first book I have officially read for the Agatha Christie Reading Challenge, hosted by Mysteries In Paradise. If you are interested in joining in, here are instructions on how to do that.