The Complete Tommy and Tuppence 5-Book Collection
The Complete Tommy and Tuppence 5-Book Collection
Get all five Tommy & Tuppence adventures for the first time in one ebook.Tommy and Tuppence, two young people short of money and restless for excitement, embark on a daring business scheme – Young Adventurers Ltd.Their advertisement says they are ‘willing to do anything, go anywhere’, and their first assignment plunges them into more danger than they ever imagined. In their second book they take over Blunt’s International Detective Agency, and in their third they are on the trail of wartime spies. In their fourth book they have to solve a very old murder; and in their final adventure their investigations lead them into the sinister realm of black magic.
The Complete Tommy and Tuppence
Published by HarperCollinsPublishers Ltd 1 London Bridge Street London SE1 9GF
TOMMY & TUPPENCE
Copyright © Agatha Christie Ltd
“Tommy and Tuppence: An Introduction.” Copyright © 2012 John Curran
The Secret Adversary first published in Great Britain by The Bodley Head Limited 1922. Copyright © 1922 Agatha Christie Limited
Partners in Crime first published in Great Britain by Collins 1929. Copyright © 1929 Agatha Christie Limited
N or M? first published in Great Britain by Collins 1941. Copyright © 1941 Agatha Christie Limited
By the Pricking of My Thumbs first published in Great Britain by Collins 1968. Copyright © 1968 Agatha Christie Limited
Postern of Fate first published in Great Britain by Collins 1973. Copyright © 1973 Agatha Christie Limited
Cover layout design © HarperCollinsPublishers Ltd 2013
Agatha Christie asserts the moral right to be identified as the author of this work
A catalogue copy of this book is available from the British Library.
This novel is entirely a work of fiction. The names, characters and incidents portrayed in it are the work of the author’s imagination. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events or localities is entirely coincidental.
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Ebook Edition © NOVEMBER 2013 ISBN: 9780007552504
Title Page (#ue7b2e8ed-b63b-56a9-bc3d-9cd5753a3873)
The Secret Adversary (#u8901fef2-31ea-515a-86f2-0b295d7ece90)
Partners in Crime (#ub517b7a7-4790-5ac3-affd-1c96dcc15ee0)
N or M? (#litres_trial_promo)
By the Pricking of My Thumbs (#litres_trial_promo)
Postern of Fate (#litres_trial_promo)
About the Author (#litres_trial_promo)
Also by the Author (#litres_trial_promo)
About the Publisher (#litres_trial_promo)
Tommy and Tuppence: An Introduction (#ulink_53d49a32-a60b-565b-93aa-27c971e1e140)by John Curran
“Tommy, old thing.”
“Tuppence, old bean”
This exchange from The Secret Adversary (1922) introduces Agatha Christie readers to the detective team of Tommy and Tuppence Beresford. This light-hearted banter sets the tone not just for this book but also for the future novels and short stories in the series; although calling it a series is somewhat misleading as, unlike Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple and their extensive casebooks, there are only five Tommy and Tuppence titles. They stretch over Christie’s entire writing life, with two titles in both her first and last decade and one from mid-career. The Secret Adversary was her second published novel; while the last novel she ever wrote, Postern of Fate (1973), was also a Tommy and Tuppence. In between there was the short story collection Partners in Crime (1929) and the spy story N or M? (1941), followed by a long gap before the sinister murder-mystery By the Pricking of My Thumbs (1968).
Husband-and-wife detective teams are relatively rare in crime fiction, Dashiell Hammett created Nick and Nora Charles in The Thin Man (1934), their only adventure despite the half-dozen films with William Powell and Myrna Loy that featured them. Pam and Jerry North, the creation of husband-and-wife team Richard and Frances Lockridge, detected their way through twenty-six novels. And although many other detective characters have marriage partners – Inspector French, Gideon Fell, Inspector Alleyn – they are not usually active investigative partners. But Tommy and Tuppence Beresford are unique in meeting, marrying, and becoming parents and grandparents over the fifty years of their crime-solving career.
Unlike Christie’s other detective creations Tommy and Tuppence Beresford age gradually through the series, although it must be admitted that mathematically the chronology does not bear close scrutiny. When we first meet them in The Secret Adversary they are demobbed service personnel from World War I; they are a married couple running a detective agency in Partners in Crime, at the end of which Tuppence announces her pregnancy. While their children are involved in World War II, Mr. and Mrs. Beresford contribute to the war effort by chasing spies in N or M? and they are grandparents investigating a mysterious disappearance from a retirement home in By the Pricking of My Thumbs. In their final adventure the elderly Tommy and Tuppence discover the secret history of their new home in Postern of Fate.
In many ways Tuppence was the model for many of the female protagonists that Christie created throughout her career: Anne Beddingfeld in The Man in the Brown Suit (1924), Lady Eileen (Bundle) Brent in The Secret of Chimneys (1925) and The Seven Dials Mystery (1929), Emily Trefusis in The Sittaford Mystery (1931), Lady Frances Derwent in Why Didn’t They Ask Evans? (1934), and Victoria Jones in They Came to Baghdad (1951). All of these females display characteristics similar to Tuppence: indefatigable curiosity, quick-witted courage, unquestioning loyalty, and a sense of humor; but Tuppence is unique in also being a wife and, later, a mother and grandmother. Unlike many female “sidekicks” Tuppence is very much an equal partner and not simply a helpless female waiting for the braver and more intelligent male to rescue her from the clutches of the evil mastermind. It is Tuppence who takes the initiative at the very beginning of The Secret Adversary in drafting the newspaper advertisement and it is her brainwave to amend it to read intriguingly “No unreasonable offer refused.” Her sangfroid takes them through their initial mysterious interview and her subsequent domestic position is a significant test of her nerve. Throughout The Secret Adversary Tuppence shares the danger equally with Tommy.
In Chapter One of The Secret Adversary Tuppence is described as having “no claim to beauty, but there was character and charm in the elfin lines of her little face, with its determined chin and large, wide-apart grey eyes that looked mistily out from under straight black brows.” Tommy’s face is “pleasantly ugly – nondescript yet unmistakably the face of a gentleman and a sportsman.” More surprisingly he is described as having “a shock of exquisitely slicked-back red hair.” With these descriptions Christie carefully avoided the clichés of the broad shoulders, tapering waist, chiseled jawline, and devil-may-care suntanned face (for the hero) and the sylph-like figure, golden tresses, exquisite beauty, and all-knowing innocence (for the heroine), which were the common attributes of fictional characters at the time.
We can believe in Tommy and Tuppence because they seem so “ordinary.” In Chapter Twenty-two of The Secret Adversary the Prime Minister and the enigmatic Mr. Carter discuss the case and the two leading protagonists. Mr. Carter gives the following succinct summary of the pair and it stands as an accurate picture of them both. “Outwardly, [Tommy is] an ordinary, clean-limbed, rather block-headed young Englishman. Slow in his mental processes. On the other hand, it’s quite impossible to lead him astray through his imagination. He hasn’t got any – so he’s difficult to deceive. He worries things out slowly, and once he’s got hold of anything he doesn’t let go. The little lady’s quite different. More intuition and less common sense. They make a pretty pair working together. Pace and stamina.”
The other series character that makes his first appearance in The Secret Adversary is Albert, a humble lift boy in the Ritz Hotel when we first make his acquaintance. Tuppence, by judicious exaggeration of her involvement in affairs nefarious, befriends him and he proves to be an invaluable ally in the course of the adventure. When next we meet him in Partners in Crime he is installed as the office boy in the detective agency and thereafter he becomes a permanent part of the Beresford household, appearing in all the novels including Postern of Fate. It is not until N or M?, however, that we learn that his surname is Batt and by then he has also acquired a wife, although her part is an off-stage one. His contribution during N or M? is somewhat incidental, but in By the Pricking of My Thumbs he is firmly installed in the Beresford household as cook/butler/factotum.
When she signed the agreement for The Mysterious Affair at Styles, Agatha Christie was contracted to produce a further five titles for The Bodley Head. In October 1920 she wrote to her then publisher, John Lane at The Bodley Head, inquiring about the progress of her first book and in the course of her letter she mentioned that “I’ve nearly finished a second one by this time.” So this letter puts the composition of The Secret Adversary three years earlier than its publication and this, in turn, agrees with the dialogue in Chapter One where Tommy talks of being demobbed for “ten long weary months”; if he left the army at the end of 1918 ten months later would bring him close to the end of 1919.
Christie discusses the early genesis of the book in her autobiography. She describes how, rather like Tommy in Chapter One of the finished novel, she overheard a conversation in a teashop, a conversation about someone called Jane Fish. She continues, “That, I thought, would make rather a good beginning to a story – a name overheard at a teashop – an unusual name, so that whoever heard it remembered it. A name like Jane Fish, or perhaps Jane Finn would be even better. I settled for Jane Finn and started writing straight away. I called it The Joyful Venture first – then The Young Adventurers – and finally it became The Secret Adversary.” The moniker “The Young Adventurers” resurfaces in the newspaper advertisement in Chapter One and captures the spirit of the book and its two protagonists perfectly. Christie goes on to explain that John Lane did not like The Secret Adversary as it was so different to her first book. He so feared lower sales that for a while he was not even going to publish it. But he relented and she got the princely sum of £50 for the serial rights.