Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Partners in Crime

The ‘partners in crime’ are married couple Tommy and Tuppence Beresford. 

Just as Tuppence is bemoaning that she is bored and will have to buy some more hats they are visited buy Agent Carter seeking their help.

Tommy and Tuppence first appeared in 1922 in The Secret Adversary

Christie brings them back in 1929 in this series of short stories. While each story does have its own mystery and investigation there is one story line throughout.

At Carter’s request they take over Blunt’s Detective Agency, known to be a link with a Russian spy ring and are once again embroiled in mystery.

While their main goal is to expose the Russian spies they must take on bone fide cases. The cases range from breaking an alibi (the result of a casual wager) to murder with a tantalising sprinkling of dangerous contact with the Russian syndicate.

While essentially classified as a short story collection some stories span two chapters with the mysterious Russian mystery popping up from time to time until the last story.

Tommy and Tuppence are both keen detective fiction readers and to add some fun to their cases they approach each case in the manner of a different fictional detective including Sherlock Holmes and Father Brown. When an early reference to using their “little grey cells” appears I thought that was Christie’s token mention of her own famous fictional detective but investigating a case ‘Poirot style’ is the comic feature in the last story.

These stories are not deep mysteries. Tommy and Tuppence’s love life and often take a light hearted view of even some of the more serious situations they find themselves in.

Set in the late 1920s their escapades are zany and whacky so typical of that time. It entertaining and relaxing reading.

Added to the main characters is the unconventional Albert, employed by them at home and changes his ‘performance’ according to his latest favourite movie character, is now receptionist at the detective agency providing even more opportunities for his role playing and more fun for the reader.

My rating 4*