In this "hilarious burlesque of detective fiction" (New York Times), Tommy and Tuppence Beresford adopt the methods and manners of every major literary detective from Hercule Poirot to Sherlock Holmes to piece together an increasingly complex series of delightfully different--and deadly--misdeeds.
Partners in Crime is the second book in the Tommy and Tuppence series by Agatha Christie. It’s a short story collection tied together by an overarching plot: Tommy and Tuppence are hired to pose as a detective firm in order to ensnare a Russian spy ring. They end up solving quite a few mysteries in between spy-hunting, playing a game of famous detective-imitation along the way. I’ve, er, never heard of most of those detectives, but I’m certainly going to track down as many as I can– they seem like a good read! A blind detective? A priest detective? A detective who fiddles with string a lot? Page-turners, surely. (If only I could find copies of them.)
I enjoyed reading this book, especially coming directly from the The Secret Adversary. The stories keep pretty close to the more humorous side of things, though there are a couple that are more serious and somewhat sad, mostly because of the character deaths (not T&T, obviously). It’s not as exciting overall as The Secret Adversary, but some of the stories were very well done. I especially liked “Blindman’s Bluff,” where Tommy pretends to be the blind detective Thornley Colton and gets kidnapped by a Duke, and “The Man in the Mist” because of the unexpectedly twisty ending.
Tommy and Tuppence’s relationship has changed a little since TSA, and it’s fun to see where they’re at and where they’re heading after 6 years of marriage. They’re definitely more openly affectionate, if more in words than touch, and their interaction has changed into something slightly more playful than it once was. They each play tricks on the other, and the game of Classic Detective itself is, besides a plot device, adorable and hilarious in turns. I especially liked how Tuppence doesn’t let herself get steamrolled by Tommy’s protectiveness, and how she still has just as much say in their life and activities as she did in The Secret Adversary.
Albert has followed them forward as well, and is quite an interesting little secondary character. The other minor characters are distinctive in their stories but mostly forgettable once done with, as they should be, really. The mysteries themselves range from twisty and unexpected endings to mundane but still unexpected endings. Some of them are quite exciting, but like I said, overall it’s not as exciting as TSA. Still, it was a good book to chomp through, more suited for reading during short breaks of time rather than all at once. I look forward to reading the next book in the series!
Read: January 2009
What’s your favorite pre-1950’s detective? Do you prefer them more bumbling or more clever? Did you ever want to be a detective?