The Secret Adversary by Agatha Christie
In their very first adventure, Tommy and Tuppence uncover an audacious plot to destroy Great Britain
In postwar London, childhood friends Tommy Beresford and Prudence “Tuppence” Cowley are having a grand old time—except for the fact that they can barely afford a pot of tea between them. With no jobs to be had and no rich relations to bankroll them, they decide to form a joint venture: Young Adventurers, Ltd. They’re willing to go anywhere and do anything so long as the pay as right. Maybe, suggests Tuppence, a clergyman’s daughter, they’ll even get to steal a diamond necklace.
Before Tommy can place their first advertisement, Tuppence gets a job offer. Mr. Whittington wants to send her to Paris for three months, all expenses paid. The catch is that she has to pretend to be someone else—an American—and she can’t talk to anyone she knows while she’s there. It sounds too good to be true, and when Tuppence tries to protect herself with a pseudonym—“Jane Finn,” an odd name that Tommy recently overheard—Whittington’s reaction is equal parts anger and admiration. Accusing Tuppence of blackmail, he gives her fifty pounds and disappears.
Of course, the Young Adventurers refuse to leave it at that. Setting out to find the mysterious Jane Finn, they stumble into a deadly conspiracy that stretches all the way back to the sinking of the Lusitania and now threatens to undo everything England won in the Great War.
By transforming two of London’s bright young things into fearless detectives, Agatha Christie’s second novel revolutionized the mystery genre.
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