Mar 07

thrillers BY kids: agatha christie’s second ever book

FT + The Brown WedgePost a comment • 1,038 views

adversaryok i haven’t read an agatha christie since i wz about ten so i have embarked on an ODYSSEY OF MIDDLECLASS CRIME, working my way through the new christie “by decades” collections — which means i began with THE SECRET ADVERSARY (1922), written when AC was 32.

i. it starts ON THE LUSITANIA as it sinking — this is bold!
ii. it features as a senior crim “the man behind the bolsheviks” — who is called KRAMENIN or some such — and unfolds against the backdrop of a possible GENERAL STRIKE fomented not by bolsheviks even, but by the MAN BEHIND THEM
iii. it bears a certain resemblance, in respect of its “who is the man behind the man behind the bolsheviks” central mystery, to THE MAN WHO WAS THURSDAY, except that is one of the greatest books ever written, and The Secret Adversary is actually a bit halt and lame and rub
iv. i’m afraid i guessed who the Secret Adversary wz going to be the FIRST TIME their name was mentioned (ie before they had even appeared in person) — there was a further 160 pages before my inuiton was validated
v. tuppence especially of tommy and tuppence is quite fun — and probably in terms of TYPES (at least in crime books) a “new thing under the sun”; she is a high-spirited FLAPPER who wants to GET AHEAD (but is actually it turns out very noble and idealistic, sadly)
vi. it is more slapstick than i expected, actually a bit TINTIN-ish

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