Monday, August 10, 2020

Sophia Rose Reviews-The Secret Adversary by Agatha Christie (Amazon Classics Edition Narrated by Marian Hussey

It will take more than a pandemic to keep Sophia Rose from sharing her reviews on The Reading Frenzy and today she's wearing her mask 😷 , social distancing  and gifting us with an Agatha Christie in audio, The Secret Adversary.
Take it away Sophia Rose!

The Secret Adversary by Agatha Christie (Amazon Classics Edition
Narrated by Marian Hussey
Publisher:  Brilliance Audio
Published:  7.28.20
Time:  8 hours 49 minutes
Rating: 4 stars
Narrator: 5 stars
Format: MP3
Source:  Brilliance Audio
Sellers:  Audible

Add To: GoodReads (paperback) 
In London after the Great War, Tommy Beresford and Tuppence Cowley are out of work and low on funds. The old friends quickly form the Young Adventurers, Ltd. Seeking to hire themselves out to “do anything, go anywhere,” the duo agree to a lucrative job: locate a survivor of the Lusitania sinking who’s disappeared with a compromising secret. Their assignment sucks them into a conspiracy of murder, kidnapping, and double identities. Behind it is an elusive, omnipresent puppet master who will stop at nothing to eliminate the amateur sleuths before they find what they’re looking for.
In Agatha Christie’s first Tommy and Tuppence mystery, the plucky pair hit the ground running in their search for excitement and adventure - “no unreasonable offer refused.”
Revised edition: Previously published as The Secret Adversary, this edition of The Secret Adversary (AmazonClassics Edition) includes editorial revisions.

Sophia Rose's Review:

Agatha Christie is known as the queen of mystery and we all immediately imagine a brilliant murder on a train, ten people getting killed off to the tune of a nursery rhyme, a locked room, a country house, etc.  But, she also wrote several as light thrillers in the espionage realm.  The Secret Adversary is the first of these and the first of the Tommy and Tuppence series.

The Secret Adversary takes place just after the Great War when those who survived have been de-mobbed and struggle to settle back into life at peace.  For Tommy and Tuppence who bump into each other one day, they lament the difficulties finding jobs and having enough money.  With a brilliant flash, The Young Adventurers is born and they determine to take on any unusual job they are offered.  This lands them with a mystery of international importance.

These two are plucky and have something of the Bright Young Things of the jazz age going for them.  I had a good time meeting both Prudence 'Tuppence' Crowley, not so staid daughter of an arch deacon and Tommy Beresford the unflappable childhood friend.  They are opposites, but also have a good compatibility since they are friends from childhood.  It only slowly dawns on them both throughout the adventure that friendship has become something stronger.

They get their first case through Tuppence's audaciousness.  Their job to find the missing Jane Flynn who survived the sinking of the Lusitania and then disappeared, government papers she might have been carrying, and unmask super criminal Mr. Brown who is after these papers all while these first timer amateurs manage to get on the right trail from the beginning. 

The big villain reveal was something of a surprise the first time I read, but this many years later, I can see where it was almost obvious.  The excitement isn't in that, but how Tommy and Tuppence run down the missing woman and the papers all while having a criminal gang thwarting them and providing some dangerous moments.  It's not the deepest of conundrums, but it’s entertaining and sparkling with excitement.

The narrator, Marian Hussey, was a first time for me.  She was brilliant as the Brits of all gender, age, and temperament.  At first, I had to get used to her American accents.  They weren't bad, but were a touch exaggerated.  Julius Hersheimer, the American tycoon, eventually grew on me when I realized her voicing wasn't an over-done accent so much as nailing Julius' exuberant personality.  I'd definitely listen to more of her work.

So, all in all, a good time was had by all and I was reminded how much I love classic Christie and want to pick up more of her books for re-reads and re-listens.

My thanks to Brilliance Audio for providing a copy of this book to listen to in exchange for an honest review.

Author Bio:
Agatha Christie is the best-selling author of all time. She wrote 66 crime novels and story collections, fourteen plays, and six novels under a pseudonym in Romance. Her books have sold over a billion copies in the English language and a billion in translation. According to Index Translationum, she remains the most-translated individual author, having been translated into at least 103 languages. She is the creator of two of the most enduring figures in crime literature-Hercule Poirot and Miss Jane Marple-and author of The Mousetrap, the longest-running play in the history of modern theatre.

Agatha Mary Clarissa Miller was born in Torquay, Devon, England, U.K., as the youngest of three. The Millers had two other children: Margaret Frary Miller (1879–1950), called Madge, who was eleven years Agatha's senior, and Louis Montant Miller (1880–1929), called Monty, ten years older than Agatha.

Before marrying and starting a family in London, she had served in a Devon hospital during the First World War, tending to troops coming back from the trenches. During the First World War, she worked at a hospital as a nurse; later working at a hospital pharmacy, a job that influenced her work, as many of the murders in her books are carried out with poison. During the Second World War, she worked as a pharmacy assistant at University College Hospital, London, acquiring a good knowledge of poisons which feature in many of her novels.

Her first novel, The Mysterious Affair at Styles, came out in 1920. During her first marriage, Agatha published six novels, a collection of short stories, and a number of short stories in magazines.

In late 1926, Agatha's husband, Archie, revealed that he was in love with another woman, Nancy Neele, and wanted a divorce. On 8 December 1926 the couple quarreled, and Archie Christie left their house, Styles, in Sunningdale, Berkshire, to spend the weekend with his mistress at Godalming, Surrey. That same evening Agatha disappeared from her home, leaving behind a letter for her secretary saying that she was going to Yorkshire. Her disappearance caused an outcry from the public, many of whom were admirers of her novels. Despite a massive manhunt, she was not found for eleven days.

In 1930, Christie married archaeologist Max Mallowan (Sir Max from 1968) after joining him in an archaeological dig. Their marriage was especially happy in the early years and remained so until Christie's death in 1976.

Christie frequently used familiar settings for her stories. Christie's travels with Mallowan contributed background to several of her novels set in the Middle East. Other novels (such as And Then There Were None) were set in and around Torquay, where she was born. Christie's 1934 novel Murder on the Orient Express was written in the Hotel Pera Palace in Istanbul, Turkey, the southern terminus of the railway. The hotel maintains Christie's room as a memorial to the author. The Greenway Estate in Devon, acquired by the couple as a summer residence in 1938, is now in the care of the National Trust.

Christie often stayed at Abney Hall in Cheshire, which was owned by her brother-in-law, James Watts. She based at least two of her stories on the hall: the short story The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding, and the novel After the Funeral. Abney Hall became Agatha's greatest inspiration for country-house life, with all the servants and grandeur which have been woven into her plots.

To honour her many literary works, she was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire in the 1956 New Year Honours. The next year, she became the President of the Detection Club.


Sophia’s Bio:
Sophia is a quiet though curious gal who dabbles in cooking, book reviewing, and gardening. Encouraged and supported by an incredible man and loving family. A Northern Californian transplant to the Great Lakes Region of the US. Lover of Jane Austen, Baseball, Cats, Scooby Doo, and Chocolate.
Sophia’s Social Media Links:


  1. I enjoyed reading/listening to the Secret Adversary as well. I guess there are several versions out there as the one I listened to was narrated by Nadia May and published by Blackstone Audio.

    1. I love that some of the older books have more than one audio publisher so we can pick and choose narrators. I had a good time with the book since it had been years since I read it.

  2. Oh and I haven't read or listened to this one yet and I'm loving the amazon classics editions of other books too. Thanks Sophia Rose

    1. I couldn't believe they had such a neat collection until after I spotted this one. I've picked up Tarzan for next. LOL

  3. I'm glad you liked it. I haven't read it.

    1. It was great getting a mystery classic and the sparkling young detective pair.

  4. I read a Christie like 20 years ago ;)

    1. Oh yeah, it's been ages since I read a few. :)

  5. It has been a decade or more since I completed all of Agatha's books. I love that they are coming to audio! Wonderful review Sophia.

    1. I love that we can enjoy them once again in audio, too. :)