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TOMMY & TUPPENCE

tommy_n_tuppence_mv_tsa Beresford_Tommy1 tommy_n_tuppence_nv_tua Beresford_Tommy2 Beresford_Tommy3 tommy_n_tuppence_mv_btpomt Beresford_Tommy4 Beresford_Tommy5
 
Full Name: Thomas and Prudence Beresford
Nationality: British
Organization: British Secret Service
Occupation Agent

Creator: Agatha Christie
Time Span: 1922 - 2006

ABOUT THE SERIES

       Tuppence and Tommy Beresford are agents for the British Secret Service.
       Agatha Christie tried her hand at numerous genres, all connected to mysteries, especially in her early years. One of these experiments introduced two young people reunited after several years, both in need of money. While joking over a lunch about becoming 'adventurers' for hire, they are overheard by the head of the British Secret Service. He saw in them just the pair he needed to handle a delicate mission. Thus did Tommy and Prudence, nicknamed Tuppence, get their introduction into both espionage work and solving murders.
       A few years later, Dame Agatha collected more tales of this delightful pair of snoops into another volume but after that, they fairly retired for they were not heard again until 12 years later with an adventure fighting German spies at the beginning of the Second World War. Afterwards, they disappeared as Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot took center stage.
       Perhaps it was nostalgia that caused her to resurrect her two lovebirds 27 years later. She had aged them properly for they were now in the late sixties but they were just as adventurous as they had been when penniless years before.
       One part of me did not feel they belonged in this collection. The two adventures they had during the post-War period were really murder mysteries. Still, numerous lists of spy series I have seen have included the Beresford's and, since I have been reading Agatha Christie stories since I was little, it was fun to revisit her.

BOOKS

Number of Books:5
First Appearance:1922
Last Appearance:1973

1 The Secret Adversary The Secret Adversary
Written by Agatha Christie
Copyright: 1922

Old friends meet again and, in need of work, take on a job for the British Secret Service to find out what happened to Jane Finn five years ago and the secret documents she was carrying at the time.
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2 Partners In Crime Partners In Crime
Written by Agatha Christie
Copyright: 1929

In this collection of short stories, the couple buy a a detective agency that the Secret Service says might be a drop site for Soviet spies. As they await such an event, they solve numerous mysteries.
The stories are:
1) A Fairy in the Flat
2) A Pot Of Tea
3) The Affair Of The Pink Pearl
4) The Adventure of the Sinister Stranger
5) Finessing The King
6) The Gentleman Dressed In Newspaper
7) The Case Of The Missing Lady
8) Blindman's Buff
9) The Man in the Mist
10) The Crackler
11) The Sunningdale Mystery
11) The Ambassador's Boots
12) The House of Lurking Death
13) The Unbreakable Alibi
14) The Clergyman's Daughter
15) The Red House
16) The Man Who Was No. 16
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3 N or M N or M
Written by Agatha Christie
Copyright: 1941

As the man lay dying he uttered five words which were the codenames of Hitler's prize agents. Tommy and Tuppence travel to the seaside resort where he was killed to track down the killer and possibly stop the espionage ring.
First published in the March 1941 edition of Redbook Magazine.
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4 By The Pricking Of My Thumb By The Pricking Of My Thumb
Written by Agatha Christie
Copyright: 1968

Now an elderly couple, Tommy and Tuppence pay a visit to a dying aunt and end up first investigating the disappearance of a neighbor and then the disappearance of Tuppence.
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5 Postern Of Fate Postern Of Fate
Written by Agatha Christie
Copyright: 1973

Recently moved into their new home, Tommy and Tuppence become involved in a murder mystery connected to a woman who may or may not have been a German spy during WWII.
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NOVELLAS AND SHORT STORIES

Number of Stories:16
First Appearance:1923
Last Appearance:1929

       According to the excellent Agatha Christie website, the 16 stories listed as part of the collection Partners In Crime were more than just excellent short stories dealing with the first sets of cases Tommy and Tuppence dealt with. They were also homages to other great detectives in fiction, presenting problems the pair chose to handle by emulating these fellow sleuths.
       In the individual listings before the plots, which I took from that site, I have added in []'s the detective(s) being honored.


1 A Fairy in the Flat A Fairy in the Flat
Written by Agatha Christie
Copyright: 1929

"Following WWI Tommy and Tuppence are seeking some adventure. Luckily they’re soon offered a position covering Blunt’s Detective Agency, Tommy taking on the role of Mr Blunt, Tuppence as his secretary."
1st story in the collection Partners In Crime.

2 A Pot Of Tea A Pot Of Tea
Written by Agatha Christie
Copyright: 1929

"Lawrence St. Vincent. His secret love, shopgirl Janet Smith has disappeared without a trace. A rather boastful Tuppence claims finding her will take but twenty-four hours, though it is by no means certain that they will meet this impossible task."
2nd story in the collection Partners In Crime.

3 The Affair Of The Pink Pearl The Affair Of The Pink Pearl
Written by Agatha Christie
Copyright: 1929

[R.Austin Freeman's Dr. John Thorndyke] "Tommy and Tuppence are approached by a distraught Beatrice Kingston-Bruce and her mother - a precious pink pearl has been stolen from their houseguest, Lady Laura Barton. Tommy investigates, in the guise of Dr. John Evelyn Thorndyke, the great medico-legal detective created by R Austin Freeman (1862-1943) – who just happens to possess an incomparable intellect, a vast knowledge on a number of subjects, and dashing good looks."
3rd story in the collection Partners In Crime.

4 The Adventure of the Sinister Stranger The Adventure of the Sinister Stranger
Written by Agatha Christie
Copyright: 1929

[Valentine Williams' Okewood Brothers] "A mysterious cigarette lighter, the first anticipated blue Russian letter, and a doctor dealing with hoax callers. The detective agency spurs back into life as Tommy and Tuppence try to resolve these seemingly unrelated events."
4th story in the collection Partners In Crime.

5 Finessing The King Finessing The King
Written by Agatha Christie
Copyright: 1929

[Isabel Ostrander's McCarty and Riordan] "Not even Tommy’s trivia about the way newspapers are printed can detract Tuppence from her boredom. She wants to go dancing and is reading the paper in search of a party. That is until she discovers a secret message in one of the articles. Just what does it mean to “finesse the king”?"
5th story in the collection Partners In Crime.

6 The Gentleman Dressed In Newspaper The Gentleman Dressed In Newspaper
Written by Agatha Christie
Copyright: 1929

Continuation of the previous story, Finessing the King.
6th story in the collection Partners In Crime.

7 The Case Of The Missing Lady The Case Of The Missing Lady
Written by Agatha Christie
Copyright: 1929

[Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes] "Having proved their deductive talents to the famous explorer Gabriel Stavansson, Tommy and Tuppence are entrusted with a new investigation: discovering the whereabouts of his elusive fiancé."
7th story in the collection Partners In Crime.

8 Blindman's Buff Blindman's Buff
Written by Agatha Christie
Copyright: 1929

[Clinton Stagg's Thornley Colton] "While lunching in the chic Gold Room, Tommy masquerades as a blind detective. The Beresfords are approached by the elegant Duke of Blairgowrie for help in locating his missing daughter. Before going off to aid the duke, the “blind” Tommy dictates a vital menu to Tuppence."
8th story in the collection Partners In Crime.

9 The Man in the Mist The Man in the Mist
Written by Agatha Christie
Copyright: 1929

[G.K.Chesterton's Father Brown] "Recovering from the setback of failing to solve their latest case, Tommy and Tuppence are recouping with some cocktails when they stumble upon their next opportunity: a famous actress, who appears to be terrified of a superstition."
9th story in the collection Partners In Crime.

10 The Crackler The Crackler
Written by Agatha Christie
Copyright: 1929

[Edgar Wallace general style] "At Inspector Marriot’s behest, Tommy and Tuppence sleuth after a clever counterfeiter who has been flooding both sides of the Channel with phoney bank notes. Tommy winds up in an alley with chalked X’s over the doors – but what do they all mean?"
10th story in the collection Partners In Crime.

11 The Sunningdale Mystery The Sunningdale Mystery
aka The Sunninghall Mystery
Written by Agatha Christie
Copyright: 1929

[Baroness Emma Orczy's the Old Man in the Corner] "Captain Sessle is found stabbed through the heart, with a hatpin the only clue and a bit of red wool in his hand. A pretty blond is charged because she was wearing a bright red wool coat. But the Beresfords don’t like how the investigation is being handled. Was there more behind the killing than the pretty blond and the red wool?"
11th story in the collection Partners In Crime.

11 The Ambassador's Boots The Ambassador's Boots
Written by Agatha Christie
Copyright: 1929

[H.C.Bailey's Dr. Reggis Fortune] "Beginning as a case of curiosity, Tommy and Tuppence must investigate the swapping of two bags at an airport, both marked with the same initials. Things become all the more interesting when one of the men has no recollection of any such bag at all."
11th story in the collection Partners In Crime.

12 The House of Lurking Death The House of Lurking Death
Written by Agatha Christie
Copyright: 1929

[Alfred Mason's Insp. Gabriel Hanaud] "A wealthy young woman receives a box of poisoned chocolates and approaches Tommy and Tuppence to take on her case. Could it really have been someone in her own house?"
12th story in the collection Partners In Crime.

13 The Unbreakable Alibi The Unbreakable Alibi
Written by Agatha Christie
Copyright: 1928

[Freeman Wills Crofts' Insp. Joseph French] "Una Drake, a capricious Australian, has challenged her fiance to crack two unimpeachable alibis. She wants to prove that she was in two different places at the same time. Despairing that Una will not marry him if he cannot guess how she managed this feat, Montgomery-Jones calls on Tommy and Tuppence for help."
13th story in the collection Partners In Crime. First published in the Christmas issue of Holly Leaves in December 1928.

14 The Clergyman's Daughter The Clergyman's Daughter
The First Wish
Written by Agatha Christie
Copyright: 1923

Part 1 of a 2-part story. "An old aunt has left Monica Deane and her mother a large house but no means by which to maintain it. The mother and daughter want to keep the lovely home, but find it necessary to take in lodgers to keep the place up. Unfortunately, the house seems to be inhabited by poltergeists, which makes it difficult to keep lodgers. The Deanes become besieged by a prospective buyer, who seems too anxious to buy the “haunted” house. When Tommy and Tuppence investigate they find not only the spiteful spirits, but the reason the prospective buyer is so anxious to own the house."
14th story in the collection Partners In Crime.
First published as The First Wish in the December 1923 (#226) of The Grand Magazine.

15 The Red House The Red House
The First Wish
Written by Agatha Christie
Copyright: 1923

Part 2 of a 2-part story. "An old aunt has left Monica Deane and her mother a large house but no means by which to maintain it. The mother and daughter want to keep the lovely home, but find it necessary to take in lodgers to keep the place up. Unfortunately, the house seems to be inhabited by poltergeists, which makes it difficult to keep lodgers. The Deanes become besieged by a prospective buyer, who seems too anxious to buy the “haunted” house. When Tommy and Tuppence investigate they find not only the spiteful spirits, but the reason the prospective buyer is so anxious to own the house."
15th story in the collection Partners In Crime.
First published as The First Wish in the December 1923 (#226) of The Grand Magazine.

16 The Man Who Was No. 16 The Man Who Was No. 16
Written by Agatha Christie
Copyright: 1929

[Agatha Christie's own Hercule Poirot] "Having received a warning from Mr Carter, the Beresfords prepare for another encounter with their rival, Russian agent and master of disguise, No. 16."
16th story in the collection Partners In Crime.

MOVIES

Number of Movies:2
First Appearance:1983
Last Appearance:2006

1 The Secret Adversary The Secret Adversary
Director: Tony Wharmby
Writers: Agatha Christie, Pat Sandys
Actors: Francesca Annis as Tuppence Cowley, James Warwick as Tommy Beresford, George Baker as Whittington
Released: 1983

Two old friends meet again and decide to earn a living as private investigators. Their first real case gets them in the hunt for a missing treaty going up against Bolshevics.

2 By The Pricking Of My Thumbs By The Pricking Of My Thumbs
Director: Peter Medak
Writers: Stewart Harcourt, Agatha Christie
Actors: Geraldine McEwan as Miss Marple, Anthony Andrews as Tommy Beresford, Greta Scacchi as Tuppense Beresford, Claire Bloom as Aunt Ada
Released: 2006

A tv movie joining the forces of Miss Jane Marple with Tommy and Tuppence Beresford, the threesome investigate the murderer of Tommy's Aunt Ada.

TELEVISION


Number of Episodes:11
First Appearance:9999
Last Appearance:1000
Network:ITV (UK)

REGULAR CAST
James WarwickTommy Beresford [ 1 ]
Francesca AnnisTuppence Beresford [ 1 ]

This limited series consisted of stories taken from the second published book in the Tommy and Tuppence series. It deals with the newlywed couple taking over a detective agancy.


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MY COMMENTS

       I appreciate good murder mysteries and Agatha Christie always came through. The repartee between the two main characters is a lot of fun to read as both sides give and take so admirably. They have been compared to Dashiell Hammett's Nick and Nora Charles of the Thin Man fame but Tommy and Tuppence preceded the more famous pair by 12 years.
       Don't read this series if espionage is all you are looking for but don't pass them by if you like mysteries. You will find that Tommy is smart but Tuppence is a riot and it is she that really drives the series, whether she is a young woman out for adventure or an elderly matron out for, well, adventure. Thank goodness she never changed!

GRADE

My Grade: B-

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