The Crackler

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Short Story

First published: 1929

Tommy & Tuppence

Synopsis

The Crackler

The Crackler

Tommy and Tuppence sleuth after a clever counterfeiter who has been flooding both sides of the Channel with phoney bank notes. From Partners in Crime.

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At Inspector Marriot’s behest, Tommy and Tuppence sleuth after a clever counterfeiter who has been flooding both sides of the Channel with phoney bank notes. Tommy winds up in an alley with chalked X’s over the doors – but what do they all mean?

This short story sees the Beresfords as the Busies, in an Edgar Wallace-type adventure, which parodies Wallace’s slapdash, action-laden thrillers. Wallace (1875-1932) was the prolific, immensely popular author of 173 books, most of them thrillers or mysteries. During the 1920s when he often dictated a book a week, he was one of the most widely read authors in England.

"We need several hundreds of yards of extra book shelf if Edgar Wallace is to be properly represented" Tuppence says at one point, referring to Wallace’s vast output. The case that Scotland Yard assigns to Tommy and Tuppence has strong connections with big-money gamblers and horse racing. This was appropriate since Wallace himself was a compulsive gambler and squandered a good deal of the fortune he made from his books. His losses ran as high as $500 a day.

This story was published by Collins in the collection Partners in Crime, 1929, and the title was changed from The Affair of the Forged Notes to The Crackler. It was adapted for radio in 1953, starring Richard Attenborough and Sheila Sim. It also featured in the 1983 TV series Agatha Christie’s Partners in Crime, with Francesca Annis and James Warwick.

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