The Secret Adversary is a proper old-fashioned adventure story in Agatha Christie form. 'Tuppence' Cowley and her childhood friend Tommy Beresford are unemployed and underfunded following the declaration of peace after World War I, and decide to make their fortunes by becoming adventurers. As luck would have it, their conversation is overheard by a rather suspicious man who offers them an equally suspicious job, and their investigations bring them into contact with an international gang bent on the destabalisation of the British Empire. At its head is the mysterious 'Mr Brown', who none of the gang members know the identity of, but each suspects it is one of his fellows.
Tuppence and Tommy race to find a girl, Jane Finn, who disappeared years ago with the pivotal package of documents on which the gang's plot hinges, with the aid of an imposing King's Councillor and Jane's cousin, an American millionaire.
This story has a fast-paced, light-hearted theatrical feel, with convenient amnesia, hidden document caches, and a high-speed car chase (with guns!). Great fun to read, with a devilishly thought out plot.
Next up: Le Chef-d'oeuvre inconnu by Honoré de Balzac