The Secret Adversary

Today is the 100th anniversary of the end of WWI or Armistice Centurion. For this special day I felt the need to review a WWI type mystery, and chose:

The Secret Adversary (Tommy and Tuppence Mystery #1) by Agatha Christie

This is one of my favorite mysteries and the second of her mystery novels to be published. It has a fantastic mystery duo team-Tommy and Tuppence.

The mystery begins with the sinking of the Lusitania in May 1915. As they are moving people to the lifeboats, a man approaches Jane Finn and asks her to carry some secret papers. She questions him, but he tells her that she is a woman and American, much more likely to get on a lifeboat and out than him.

Five years pass and we pick up with old friends Lt. Thomas “Tommy” Beresford and Miss Prudence “Tuppence” Cowley who run into each other in London. It has been three years since the have last seen each other and they catch up. She worked as a nurse during WWI, then at a government office job, but was let go and on the search for a new job.

Tommy was in France, then Mesopotamia, and then in Egypt until Armistice. For ten months he too has been job searching. But they don’t just talk shop, they also just talk about all kinds of things, Tommy mentioning how he overheard two men mention a name “Jane Finn”, he remembers the name as he finds it very odd.

Tuppence wants money and adventure and comes up with the idea that the two could start their own business- The Young Adventures, Ltd.-and run this advertisement.

Two young adventurers for hire.

Willing to do anything, go anywhere.

Pay must be good.

No reasonable offer refused.

They part ways, but then Tuppence is approached by a man with a job offer. They meet the next day and he offers £100 to travel to Paris, speak in an American accent, and pretend to be Edward Whittington’s ward. Tuppence questions him some more but he deflects and compliments her.

When Tuppence brings up Tommy, Mr. Whittington doesn’t want him. But the real surprise comes when Mr. Whittington asks for Tuppence’s name. She gives him the name “Jane Finn”, and everything changes. Mr. Whittington is angry, accuses her of trying to play him, and questions who could have squealed-Rita? Tuppence “blackmails” £50 out of him, hears him talk to a “Mr. Brown” and agrees to meet him the next day. But Mr. Whittington disappears.

Tuppence won’t let this go and gets Tommy to put in a new advertisement:

WANTED:

Any information respecting Jane Finn

Apply Young Adventurers, Ltd.

They receive two replies. The first is Mr. Carter who Tommy recognizes as a member of the OSS, that he met in France. “Mr. Carter”, not his real name, relates to them how they had an operative on the Lusitania with the draft of a secret agreement, by various representatives of different countries. When the boat was sinking the operative passed the documents to a young girl-Jane Finn-and did not survive, his body washing ashore. But no one knows what happened to the girl and the documents.

The girl was listed on the survivors, was an orphan, and was headed to Paris to work in a hospital. They have tried everything but she has completely disappeared. They need the documents as if they were to be public today it would be disastrous. Agreements made in war do not always do well in times of peace. The head of unrest and Bolshevist movements is the elusive “Mr. Brown”.

Tuppence puts that together with what happened in Mr. Whittington’s office-they wanted her to be Jane Finn, that is until it seemed she knew all about their plan. The call from “Mr. Brown” was probably one of warning and that is why he disappeared.

Hmm…

He hires them and the two start investigating. They begin by meeting the second person who answered their advertisement: Julius P. Hersheimmer is Jane’s cousin and a millionaire. He’s searching for her, and came to get Scotland Yard to find her. He brought a picture to give, but it turns out “Mr. Brown” played him and took it.

The three team up together as this case takes ups and downs and twists and turns. Kidnapping, imprisonment, mistaken idea, red herrings, Bolshevisks, amnesia, spy games, etc.

Thoughts After Reading:

I LOOOOOOOVEEE this mystery!!!!! I could read it over and over a thousand times.

The characters are amazing, the mystery marvelous, I just LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOVVVVEEEEEEEEEE It!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

For more Agatha Christie, go to The Mysterious Affair at Styles

For more World War I, go to A Duty to the Dead

For more mysteries involving a disapperance, go to Death Wears a Beauty Mask

For more mysteries with amnesia, go to C is for Corpse

For more mysteries with kidnapping, go to Gates of Thread and Stone

For more spy stories, go to The Princess Plot

Happy Veteran’s Day! Thank you all who have served and are currently serving. Thank you for giving the ultimate sacrifice.

The Princess Plot

Princess Plot

The Princess Plot (Scandia #1) by Kristen Boie

Jenna is an average girl. She goes to school, comes home, and hangs out at her best friend’s house. The only thing that sets her apart os the fact that her mother is extremely protective. She hardly ever lets her do anything or go anywhere.

I never get to do anything fun.

I never get to do anything fun.

One day, Jenna and her best friend are approached by a man handing out fliers. His company is making a princess movie and need someone to fill a secondary part. He gives them the fliers and hopes that they will come to the auditions.

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On one hand Jenna really to try out, but on the other: she knows her mother would be dead set against it. After a lot of hemming and hawing, she decides to go for it. When she arrives at the audition, she turns in her backpack and phone to the coat check and waits in line. With so many other beautiful girls there, Jenna is convinced she won’t be chosen.

I never get to do anything fun.

To her surprise, Jenna is picked and asked to immediately fly out to the country of Scandia, the place where the movie will be filmed.

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Jenna tries to turn them down, as she knows her mother will say no way, but it turns out they already spoke to her mother and was given approval. They return her phone with a text from her mother, telling her it is okay and that she hopes she has fun. Texting will be the only way they will be able to communicate from now on as they have limited satellites.

Very suspicious

Very suspicious

Jenna is quickly whisked away to a castle in Scandia where she discoverd everything has been a huge, fat, lie.

What?

It turns out that there is no movie.

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Instead the crown princess is very ill and can’t make any public appearances. Her father just died, and her uncle has been named Regent. They all thought that not having the princess around might look as if the regent is taking over or give credence to the rumors that he murdered/kidnapped the king. So on they went to find a girl that closely resembles the princess, enough that with a few minor changes, no one would think it wasn’t her.

perfectplan

At first Jenna goes along but then finds things weirder. No one will talk about the princess. Her phone can’t send messages to anyone other than her mom. And the Regent acts very weird around her. It unsettles her more and more.

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She overhears that the princess is not missing, but has run away. She then goes on to discover that she is to be here indefinitely, her mother has no idea where she is, and that the country is in the midst of a rebellion. What’s a girl to do?

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Thoughts After Reading:

I have to admit this was waaaay better than I thought it would be.

wow

It had a great plot and doesn’t fall into the usual young adult cliches.

fantastic

It was also nice to read a YA novel that isn’t all about finding a boyfriend, but one of espionage, rebels,  inequality, etc.

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The only thing I didn’t like about this book, was how dense Jenna was. Really? You think your super protective mom who doesn’t let you spend the night at a friend’s house, someone you’ve known all your life; and you actually believe she will let you go to an entirely different country with strangers?

I don't think so.

I don’t think so.

And you don’t find it odd that you can never talk to your mom? And that she didn’t call to say good-bye?

Very suspicious

Very suspicious

Otherwise it was a pretty good YA book.

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For more young adult mysteries, go to The Dollhouse Murders

For more reviews, go to Blueberry Muffin Murder