Young Tuppence Cowley bumps into old friend Tommy Beresford at Dover Street tube station. It’s just after WW1 and jobs are very thin on the ground so Tuppence comes up with a plan to form 'Young Adventurers Ltd' - "Willing to do anything. Go anywhere... No unreasonable offer refused."
The ensuing adventures take them through five novels and a short story collection in which the couple age gracefully while still maintaining their love of mystery and adventure: The Secret Adversary, N or M? By the Pricking of my Thumbs, Postern of Fate and Partners in Crime. The originality of Partners in Crime is that in each story Tommy and Tuppence solve each case in the manner of a famous fictional detective – including Hercule Poirot!
Christie describes Tommy’s face as “pleasantly ugly – nondescript, yet unmistakably the face of a gentleman”. His slow, considered manner serves as the perfect foil to Tuppence's impetuous nature. They marry at the end of the first book, The Secret Adversary, and go on to have three children: twins Derek and Deborah, and an adopted daughter called Betty.
The Secret Adversary was the first Christie feature film ever made; adapted by the Fox Film Corporation in 1928 as a silent movie for Germany titled 'Die Abenteuer G.m.b.H', which translates as ‘Adventures inc’.
In 1984, the Partners in Crime television series aired on LWT starring James Warwick and Francesca Annis as Tommy and Tuppence. It featured ten of the fifteen short stories from the book of the same name. The two actors made a convincing couple and the lavish sets and costumes from the 1920s made this a popular series. They appeared again in 1985 with the LWT full length television film of The Secret Adversary.
Masthead Photography: Joan Hickson image © BBC
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