I’d like to introduce you to Tommy and Tuppence Beresford, amateur sleuths stumbling into mysteries and espionage plots with wit and a sense of cynicism both endearing and intriguing. Through the duration of four novels and one short story collection, Agatha Christie charts in real time the lives of Tommy and Tuppence as they fall in love, get married, have children, all the while solving mysteries. There is a glamour in their humor and their curiosity and there is a sweetness and intimacy in the playful slights they direct at one another.
In their first novel, The Secret Adversary, their penchant for adventure becomes apparent when they take out an advertisement in a newspaper. Referring to themselves as “The Young Adventurers”, they soon become embroiled in an espionage plot related to the sinking of the Lusitania. They are woefully unprepared, but shrewdness, intuition, and a touch of arrogance sees them through their travails and infuses the plot with humor. Similarly, the third book in the series, N or M?, finds Tommy and Tuppence embroiled in a World War II espionage plot at a seaside resort. Partners in Crime, my personal favorite, is a set of short stories taking place between the two aforementioned novels. Set after their marriage, the stories recount their exploits as they take over a detective agency, Blunt’s Brilliant Detectives. Still arrogant and only slightly less unprepared, Tommy and Tuppence prepare themselves by stocking their bookshelves with their favorite mystery stories to read and study in between cases. They jokingly emulate the most popular fictional characters of the day, parodying Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson as well as Christie’s own Hercule Poirot. They often adopt their signature phrases, mannerisms, and hobbies as a blueprint for the mysteries before them.
Tommy and Tuppence Beresford are continuously searching for adventure well into their old age. They are equally dissatisfied with the normal order of things and determined not to become resigned to it. They are lovable and ever so slightly ludicrous, with a sense for adventure that lasts them well into their seventies, with the novel Postern of Fate. Tommy and Tuppence stagger through their dangerous exploits all on a charming whim, reminding us that there is much adventure and witty galavanting to embark upon in this life. The level to which they adore one another is clear through the intimacy of their humor and jest. Their bond is undeniably a product of their mutual love of mystery-laden escapades and laughter, something that becomes more charming the longer they are together and something that the reader is invited to share alongside them.
(Sidenote: They are similar to Nick and Nora Charles and that is part of the reason why, I believe, I have become so infatuated with them.)