Monday, February 14, 2011

"Willing to do anything, go anywhere. Pay must be good. No unreasonable offer refused."

"On the whole, jolly good! We're very clever, I think."
"You would think so," said Tommy. "You always do. Now I have a secret feeling that once or twice we've been rather lucky."
"Nonsense," said Tuppence. "All done by the little grey cells." 
"The Man Who Was No. 16"

Yes, still trying to get rid of the backlog.

Somehow I've been using the "Agatha Christie" tag quite often. Even though I hardly ever discuss Christie works here. Because what would I have to add to the discussion on books like The Murder on Roger Akryoid, The Murder on the Orient Express and And Then There Were None? By now, everything must have been said, right?

But I still haven't read everything by Christie, so I expect I'll still ocassionally use the tag. Like today! And it isn't a Hercule Poirot story either! And I don't like Mrs. Marple, so she's out too. But I do love Tommy and Tuppence. Two young, married ex-blackmailing detectives. Scoundrels. I like that word. Scoundrels.

Aaaanyway, I recently finished the 1983 TV-serie Agatha Christie's Partners in Crime and it was a blast! The series is obviously based on the Partners in Crime short story collection, but the pilot episode is actually a movie-length version of The Secret Adversary, the very first Tommy & Tuppence novel.

In The Secret Adversary, young Tommy Beresford and Prudence "Tuppence" Cowley meet again after The Great War. Both are smart, but short on cash, so they start Young Adventurers Ltd., advertising with "willing to do anything, go anywhere. Pay must be good. No unreasonable offer refused.". They get hired the same day, which is the start of a long spy story concerning foreign agents, an important document and the secret adversary Mr. Brown, who seems to be around every corner. A lot happens in the novel, and because the pilot movie is a faithful adaption of the story (in my memory), a lot happens in the movie too. As if Christie wrote this without any planning, as if she was just coming up with new plot developments as she wrote. Look away for a second and you've lost the story. But who would look away? James Warwick and Francesca Annis play a fantastic Tommy and Tuppence, getting the feeling between the two just right, the sets are gorgeous and one of the better adaptions of Christie-books.

Warwick and Annis continue their antics in Partners in Crime, which for the most part follows the original short story collection. Here Tommy and Tuppence become the owners of a detective agency. The overall storyline of Russian spies has been removed though, thus removing the actual need for Tommy to call himself Mr. Blunt. And while in the original book, every short story was a parody of another fictional detective, most references have been removed in the TV-series, figuring most people wouldn't get them anyway. Which is probably true. Because the stories are quite short, some are also extended with original scenes, but all in all a faithful version of the original stories. Which remain as fun as ever.

But like with The Secret Adversary, the driving force of the series is the acting of James Warwick and Francesca Annis. It is just fun watching them. While some of the secondary characters are acted rather dubiously, Warwick and Annis got the Tommy & Tuppence magic perfectly! Camp, but not too camp. If David Suchet is Poirot, then Warwick and Annis are Tommy & Tuppence.


  1. I also really enjoyed this TV series which I watched for the first time last year, but seriously how can you not like Miss Marple??? Lol

    1. Well, I don't actively dislike Miss Marple, but few of her stories really made an impression on me (the short stories are better), so I simply have trouble getting really enthusiastic about her ^_^'

      This Tommy & Tuppence series was really great, and that fact becomes even more obvious now we have that more recent adaptation too which was err.. less than optimal.