Book Review: The Secret Adversary by Agatha Christy (Four Stars)
“But you cannot escape from the logic of facts. Since the thing was so—it must be accepted.”
Mission Impossible meets Miss Marple. One of Christie’s earliest mysteries. Youthful antagonists are easier to identify with than her later, renowned sleuths. Identifiable charters and convoluted plotting are already evident. Mildly political in the sense of anti-Communist.
“I’ve often noticed that once coincidences start happening they go on happening in the most extraordinary way. I dare say it’s some natural law that we haven’t found out.”
This version was first published in 1922. The story first appeared in 1917 during the Great War whose conclusion is the springboard for the current version. Literary sleuths may wish to seek out the original version. It was not written as historical fiction because the politics of that era were current, but contemporary readers will get a good sense of the time and place.
“They are honest men—and that is their value to us. It is curious—but you cannot make a revolution without honest men. The instinct of the populace is infallible. Every revolution has had its honest men. They are soon disposed of afterwards.”
Quibbles: Christie hadn’t worked out the difference between revolvers and automatic pistols. She frequently shifts from one to the other in a character’s hands.
“There’s a difference between stealing a diamond necklace for yourself and being hired to steal it.” “There wouldn’t be the least difference if you were caught!” “Perhaps not. But I shouldn’t be caught. I’m so clever.” “Modesty always was your besetting sin.”