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The Secret Adversary – Book Review

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Don’t want to read it, listen it!

By – Purvasha

Published: The Bodley Head in 1922

Book Blurb: Written in the third person POV, this book, The Secret Adversary is a fabulous 310-page work of detective fiction about a mission to save the nation from its downfall. It all starts in the prologue when an unknown man is seen handing over a packet containing important papers, to a mysterious female stranger. All of this is happening right during the sinking of the ship they are aboard, called ‘Lusitania’. The receiver of the parcel is a young American, and he gives it to her with the hope that she being a woman, will be among the ones to survive. The basis of the story lies in protecting the parcel from the hands of certain enemies, which is why she has to handle it with care. The RMS Lusitania sank in May 1915, and the story skips forward to the year, 1919 where the author introduces our characters. There is Tommy, who is a demobilized soldier, and there is Tuppence (Prudence), a war volunteer. The two are long lost childhood friends, and are now unemployed and broke. Both of them decide to assist a millionaire named Julius Hersheimer with finding his long-lost cousin. 

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As has been mentioned in the blurb, the storyline focuses on the mysterious adventures of the naive Tommy and Tuppence, who are very clever but sometimes end up getting caught. First of all, kudos for the title of this one, which is quite wise, and the ‘adversary’ being referred to as Mr. Brown, who is an obscure guy and the heart and soul of the mystery. The writing and characters were somewhat the typical Christie style, and my favourite personas had to be the ‘Young Adventurers’ and Sir James, a renowned lawyer. Here, I’d point out that even though the pair was depicted old enough to sleuth, I felt they behaved rather childishly at some instances in the book, which was kind of unrelatable. That said, the rest of the components are pretty satisfactory, for instance, the lingual usage would be really easy to understand for most of the novel’s readers. The best elements of ‘The Secret Adversary’ were the bold ventures of all characters and the very unpredictable ending the author gifted us. 

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After reading ‘The Murder of Roger Ackroyd’, I found this piece unable to meet the standards set by the former thriller-wise, nevertheless, it was equally engaging and fascinating to read. It was amazing to see how Agatha Christie did her best to portray hostile sexism through Tommy using dialogues like “Just stand aside, and see how easily the mere male deals with the situation.” This read was a fun one, which you can complete overnight because of the constant urge to know who Mr. Brown truly is. In the end, I would say that the takeaway is to never underestimate yourself or your adversaries, for that matter. If you are someone who enjoys figuring out enigmas, you won’t regret picking this up, but if you struggle with keeping track of clues, read it at your own risk! 

“Never tell all you know—not even to the person you know best.”

Image Source: abebooks.co.uk

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

My Star Rating: 4.3/5

Review Written as Guest Post By: Purvasha

For more book reviews by Purvasha, check out here.

(Featured Image Source: cocktailzindagi.com)

3 replies on “The Secret Adversary – Book Review”

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