First published in 1922
Challenges - Awesome Author Challenge, Take Another Chance Challenge and Library Challenge
It was 2p.m. on the afternoon of May 7, 1915. The Lusitania had been struck by two torpedoes in succession and was sinking rapidly, while the boats were being launched with all possible speed. The women and children were being lined up awaiting their turn. Some still clung desperately to husbands and fathers; others clutched their children closely to their breasts. One girl stood alone, slightly apart from the rest. She was quite young, not more than eighteen. She did not seem afraid, and her grave, steadfast eyes looked straight ahead.
Hurrah I have finally read my first Agatha Christie book and by Jove it was jolly good.
The Secret Adversary was Agatha Christie's second work of fiction. Her first book, The Mysterious Affair at Styles was written as a result of a bet. At this point, she had previously never written. She took up a bet that she could compose a detective novel in which the reader would not be able to identify the murderer, though having access to the same clues as the detective. How amazing to think that Agatha Christies prolific writing career started out as a bet.
This book follows the adventures of Tommy and Tuppence, who after setting up the Young Adventurers Ltd, try to discover what happened to the young Jane Finn, who never stepped off the Lusitania. She was believed to be in possession of some very influential papers that could compromise the future of the English government. With the help of Mr Carter, a member of the British Intelligence, Julius Hersheimmer, Jane Finn's American cousin who is searching for her and Sir James Peel Edgerton, a Q.C. they set off to find out what happened.
They all go on a desperate search to find Jane Finn and the rather delicate papers before they end up in the hands of Mr Brown, the elusive leader of the Bolshevists,who will publicly reveal the papers.
This was a rather enjoyable book to read and I loved the thrill of the chase as they try to get to Jane and the papers before Mr Brown. Unfortunately for me, I guessed who Mr Brown was quite early on in the book, which spoilt it just a little, as I was hoping to be completely wrong and utterly surprised when the real Mr Brown stepped forward.
Tuppence, was a bit of a go getting girl, who didn't let anyone stand in her way. She would so easily fit in to today's modern society, however I think back than her unfeminine ways may have caused a storm. The only character I didn't really like was the American, Julius Hersheimmer. I think Christie gave him what I would consider a typical American personality as seen through the eyes of the English upper crust during that era. He is loud, brash, in your face, hot headed and thinks nothing of believing a girl will marry him after just meeting him. Personally, I have never met an American like this and all the ones I know are just lovely, but this style of character seems to crop up far too often in English literature during the early 1900's.
I have been informed that Agatha Christie's early books are not her best, but I thought it would be nice to start from the beginning and enjoy reading her work as it improves.
It is an original cozy mystery and definitely worth a read. It is very English in it's ways, and the language in reminds me of the original 'St Trinians' films which were in black and white. Everything is 'jolly hockey sticks' and everyone is called ' old bean'.
This is a delightful book that gives in an insight into England during the twenties. If you like cozy mysteries and the typical English novel, then this one is for you.