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The Secret Adversary

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Author: Agatha Christie
Published: 1922
Language: English
Wordcount: 73,373 / 219 pg
Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease: 88.5
LoC Category: PR
Downloads: 112,149 1704

Set in 1919, young couple Tommy Beresford and Tuppence Cowley form a partnership, hiring themselves out as ''young adventurers''. Their first case, however, is more of an adventure than they expect - working to find documents that, if they were known to the general public, would fuel a communist revolution in Britain.

Show Excerpt

boy. But I can assure you that that sort of thing might touch the heart of an elderly spinster, and she might adopt you, and then there would be no need for you to be a young adventurer at all."

"I don't want to be adopted."

"I forgot you had a prejudice against it. I was only ragging you! The papers are full up to the brim with that type of thing. Now listen--how's this? 'Two young adventurers for hire. Willing to do anything, go anywhere. Pay must be good.' (We might as well make that clear from the start.) Then we might add: 'No reasonable offer refused'--like flats and furniture."

"I should think any offer we get in answer to that would be a pretty UNreasonable one!"

"Tommy! You're a genius! That's ever so much more chic. 'No unreasonable offer refused--if pay is good.' How's that?"

"I shouldn't mention pay again. It looks rather eager."

"It couldn't look as eager as I feel! But perhaps you are right. Now I'll read it straight through. 'Two young adventurers for h

Reader Reviews

Average Rating of 4.8 from 14 reviews: *****
Paul Lillebo

This early Christie is a good example of her early style, rambunctious and unsophisticated. As in The Man in the Brown Suit, this rollicking tale abounds in the most unexpected coincidences and improbabilities, which she became more reticent to use as her style developed. A fun read, nevertheless.

Erdal Onurhan

Christie at her prime. My many thanks to "Manybooks" the fee book.

Izbel Ramiz

Toooo good!


Like a previous reviewer - my first Agatha Christie read. It won't be the last. Excellent!

Jeff Monger

Remarkably good fun, sufficiently obscure plot to keep you guessing right up until the end. Highly recommended

Dick Thornton

Having read the book and all the reviews above, I have to say I agree with all the other reviewers and find the book an excellent one worth every minute of reading time!

If you are looking for some serious sleuthing or a cerebral mystery, this probably is not for you. If however, on the other hand, you like things nostalgic and carefree, and a bit of fun, then by all means on.

Jolly good fun, this one

Leah A. Zeldes

Tommy and Tuppence are two of Christie's best characters, and I always thought it was a pity she didn't write more books about them. Christie's novels hold up exceedingly well -- better than many later mystery writers'.


Excellent penmanship. But that's what you expect when the name of the author is Agatha Christie. The relationship between Tommy and Tuppence adds to the spirit of the story, which is usually so rare in books written in the post World War I era.

J. de Vere

This is a book well worth reading. It is in fact one of my favorite Agatha Christie stories. Unique, ingenious, and loads of fun.


Memorable evocation of a bygone era. Two down-and-out boy-and-girl youths try their hand at some detection during the intrigue-filled Post-WWI period in this delightful caper. Even when matters get more serious it seems more fun than actual danger. Sets the tone for many more boy-girl sleuth stories in books and films that followed. The 80s film version of the book is amateurish and avoidable.

David Lyons

I enjoyed the book. A little different than the typical Agatha Christie but I found it difficult to put it down. I would recommend it to mystery lovers. I would like to see more Agatha Christie available in this form.


Awesome book, a classic! The first book I've read in a long time that was truley hard to put down. Definately a suggested reading!


Having never read an Agatha Christie before, I wasn't certain of what to expect. However, I was extremely impressed! This is the first mystery I've read where the culprit wasn't completely obvious until the VERY end (as opposed to halfway through, or worse). The only negative would be that due to the age of the book itself, one ocassionally came across words no longer in the traditional vernacular. That said, it wasn't a major distraction.



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