100 Years of Adventure

One of Agatha Christie’s earliest adventure stories, The Man in the Brown Suit was published in both the UK and the US in 1924. The book features what readers would come to expect from her novels of this kind: a bold heroine; plenty of criminal goings-on; a dash of romance; and a healthy dose of derring-do.

Beginning in England, but travelling to South Africa, the majority of the narrative is set in a country Christie had visited in 1922, as part of her 'Grand Tour' with her first husband Archie. The story also mirrors their boat journey, and various parallels can be spotted between heroine Anne Beddingfeld's travels (seasickness, on board fancy dress parties and games) and Agatha's own experiences.

I yearned for adventure, for love, for romance, and I seemed condemned to an existence of drab utility.

Anne Beddingfeld, The Man in the Brown Suit

100 Years of The Man in the Brown Suit

Inline The Man In The Brown Suit

The Man in the Brown Suit, 1924

Anne Beddingfeld is our narrator of this story. She is the daughter of a famous archaeologist, and has a thirst for excitement. Upon the death of her father she travels to London to pursue a more lively life. An accidental witness to a fatality at Hyde Park Corner underground station, Anne becomes embroiled in a network of criminals which lead her to travel across the waves to Cape Town. On board she meets Sir Eustace Pedler MP (whose diary entries also add colour to the story) and his secretaries, the Hon. Mrs Clarence Blair and Colonel Race. Working together with (and sometimes against) her fellow passengers, 'Anna the Adventuress' means to get to the bottom of the funny goings-on she has witnessed, but is an amateur safe to undertake such sleuthing so far from home?

Solve the slider

Sign up to our newsletter to receive the Read Christie 2024 challenge postcard

Who is Colonel Race?

A man of excellent manners, and well respected by his peers, Colonel Race is a secret service agent. This is rather an open secret amongst his friends and associates. A friend of Hercule Poirot, he also appears in a couple of Christie's standalone stories. Colonel Race appears in four Agatha Christie novels: The Man in the Brown Suit (1924), Cards on the Table (1936), Death on the Nile (1937) and Sparkling Cyanide (1944).

Inline Death On The Nile Copyright Studio Canal
(L-R) Colonel Race (David Niven), Hercule Poirot (Peter Ustinov) and Mrs. Van Schuyler (Bette Davis) in Death on the Nile, 1978 © Studio Canal
One of these strong silent men that lady novelists and young girls always rave over.
Sir Eustace Pedler MP on Colonel Race, The Man in the Brown Suit

Did you know?

  1. The Man in the Brown Suit retailed at seven shillings and sixpence (7/6) in the UK in 1924.

  2. Agatha Christie used the proceeds from the book's serialisation to purchase her beloved car, a Morris Cowley.

Discover more adventure stories

Christie's adventure and espionage stories began in the 1920s, but she continued developing and publishing them up until 1970. How many have you read?

Find out more

I had the firm conviction that, if I went about looking for adventure, adventure would meet me halfway. It is a theory of mine that one always gets what one wants.

Anne Beddingfeld, The Man in the Brown Suit

Sign up to the newsletter to receive The World of Agatha Christie magazine