Agatha Christie is one of those authors whom I always thought were Too Serious. I avoided her works; I shied away from her, fearing how Grown Up and Serious detective stories were. Then, I was forced to read Dorothy L Sayers, and I appreciated the genre; a few baby-steps later, and I had watched the BBC adaption of Christie’s ‘Tommy and Tuppence’ stories, and I was hooked. I’m proud to say I have only two more books before I’ve finished the entire series. So, Tommy and Tuppence are two friends; in the first book, The Secret Adversary, which is more of a thriller, Tommy has just been demobbed after the First World War, and meets up with his old friend Tuppence, who had worked as a nurse. The whole book is very exciting, and then they marry, and go on to other adventures. Such as this book, Partners in Crime, the second one in the series.
So, what is this novel? Simply put, it is one of the funniest and most adorable books I have read, as well as being quite good murder mysteries and thrillers. The whole premise is that Tommy and Tuppence are placed in charge of a private eye business, for the British Secret Service, and proceed to solve crimes before ultimately breaking a Soviet spy ring; each crime presented as a fairly independent short story. Now, the book is hilarious – from Tommy and Tuppence, in the guise of Theodore Blunt, Private Eye, and his assistant, Miss Robinson, faking their business credentials by always dropping hints of assignments and appointments with dukes, prime ministers, and bishops, to how, in each story, the pair decide to act like a famous fictional detective of their time. No one escapes the hilarious and adorable parodying, whether the indefatigable Bulldog Drummond, the Edwardian Old Man in the Corner, the esteemed Sherlock Holmes, to even Agatha Christie’s own Hercule Poirot. It really is one of the funniest novels; there were several points where I even laughed aloud, and that is rare.
Next, Tommy and Tuppence are a great pair of detectives. Agatha Christie was a skilled writer, and she captures their relationship well, and the dialogue she writes is very well done; especially between Tommy and Tuppence, and the novel captures its time beautifully. The mysteries themselves are also intriguing. Some of them, I’m proud to say, I solved, but many others I did not; even the amusing twist of an ending on one mystery I could not guess, and was left as baffled as poor Tommy and Tuppence were. This is the more serious side of the book, and it is all well done; the charming characters and amusing dialogue draws one in, and one is held by the intrigue and mysteries which require solving.
If the Dear Reader has not read any Agatha Christie, or, indeed, any sort of detective fiction, than the Dear Reader cannot find a better start; except, perhaps, for The Secret Adversary. This novel is a delight to read, and I would heartily encourage one to read it. This is a light-heartedly charming, but seriously intriguing, novel to read, and an excellent way to pass one’s time. I was so wrapped up in it, that I finished it in about two days. So, I encourage one and all to come to such a delightful book, and enjoy a wonderful picture of the 20s!