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by Agatha Christie
Serenity, August 2009
222 pages
ISBN: 1604506792

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Tommy 'n' Tuppence are on their uppers, demobilized just after the Great War and finding it very difficult to find work. When they meet by accident one day they decide to put an advertisement in the paper offering their services as Young Adventurers, willing to perform any task provided the pay is good; their catchy tagline is "no unreasonable offer refused." Contacted almost immediately by the pseudonymous "Mr Carter" and by the American millionaire Julius P Herscheimer, they embark on a thrilling ride of it with their first job, as they not only immediately find themselves caught up in a deadly spy network (both foreign and British), but also search for a young girl who has been missing for five years and who may know the whereabouts of some Very Important Papers.

Aided by the American millionaire's seemingly inexhaustible wealth, Tommy, Tuppence and Julius sleuth their way through many twists and turns, some funny, many frightening, most almost believable (but not quite), with everything finishing up quite satisfactorily. Filled with an incredible amount of coincidence, this lovely romp of a spy story nonetheless delivers the goods. It's a fast-paced thriller remarkable for being not only Christie's second novel but entirely different from her first in style, if not in its setting and character types. A bit more grounded in reality and not as overtly comical as her later Tommy 'n' Tuppence book (PARTNERS IN CRIME), the plotting here is tight and interesting, the humor present but a bit understated. After almost a century this is still a wonderful read for those of us who enjoy Boys Own type stories.

Reviewed by Abbey Hamilton, September 2009

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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