Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Agatha Christie's By The Pricking of My Thumbs

"We've got far too much of everything."

This was my first of Agatha Christie's Tommy and Tuppence mysteries, and I quite liked them as a detective couple. Tommy is the more pragmatic one; Tuppence (derived somehow from Prudence) the more intuitive one, the one more interested in just having adventures. (It would be dull otherwise to be a housewife...) This one comes out in 1968, and the couple are middle-aged with a grown daughter, but we hear allusions to their earlier adventures. (Espionage in war time!) The story starts when they go off to see Tommy's Aunt Ada, who's declining in a comfortable nursing home.

But as for the mystery! Tuppence says the above of the story at one point and I'm afraid it's true. Dame Agatha must have realized. There's a gang that's been pulling off spectacular heists for years--the Irish Mail, etc.--that Tommy hears about in his professional aspect; there's some maniac who's killing children around Sutton Chancellor; and there's another serial killer doing in elderly women in nursing homes. Because this is Agatha Christie and not, say, Ed McBain or J. J. Marric (John Creasey) I suspected that all these cases would tie together and they do, but it is just a little too much of everything...

Oh, well, it was still amusing, and I would definitely read another Tommy and Tuppence story. In fact I picked up N or M? at the same charity sale as this one and as it's earlier I should probably have read it first, especially as this one refers to it (I think) on several occasions.

Just The Facts Challenge, Silver Era

Who: Professional is the Main Sleuth.

Tommy and Tuppence run a detective agency, though frankly there's not much sign of it in this one.


13 comments:

  1. I've only read one Tommy and Tuppence mystery, but I liked enough to want to read the rest.

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    1. I'll definitely be reading the others of this. Miss Marple I went out of my way to read--the Poirot stories I read as I get around to it.

      Which did you read?

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    2. The Secret Adversary...which I think might be the first one with them. :)

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    3. That does seem to be the first. I'll have to keep an eye out.

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  2. I remember reading this one as a 12 or 13 year old... I was utterly terrified!

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    1. The cover totally creeps me out! But now, despite the serial killers, it's not actually all that creepy, I thought. The relationship between Tommy and Tuppence (and their manservant Albert) is kind of cute...

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  3. I like this one, but it's not one of the best T&T stories. So you have much to look forward to! N or M is fun.

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    1. Cool. Thanks! Now especially looking forward to N or M.

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  4. i read them all at some point and quite liked them... long time ago, tho...

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  5. I don’t think the origins of Tuppence’s nickname are ever explained. However, I’ve only read The Secret Adversary. I prefer Christie’s detective fiction with Poirot and Miss Marple over her thriller/spy fiction efforts and T&T tend to veer more towards thriller/spy territory. However, I do agree with you that the relationship between T&T is delightful.

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    1. I'm ok with spy novels as a general rule (Long live Mrs. Pollifax!) though I do read more mysteries. But I'd definitely read another T&T before I read those remaining Poirots. (I don't think I have any remaining Miss Marples. Sigh.)

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    2. I too am sad that she wrote fewer Marple novels, though I do also like Poirot.

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