Young adventurers Limited - willing to do anything, go anywhere - no unreasonable offer refused.

The Secret Adversary

About Tommy & Tuppence

Who are Tommy and Tuppence?

International spies, two world wars, murders, thefts and not to mention marriage, Tommy and Tuppence seek out excitement wherever it may lie. Tuppence leads the way with her charismatic nature, while Tommy’s slow, considered manner provides the perfect foil. Together they form the 'Young Adventurers Ltd' and the adventures begin.

The Beginning

The first Tommy and Tuppence adventure was published in 1922. Young Tuppence Cowley bumps into old friend Tommy Beresford at Dover Street tube station. It’s just after WW1 and jobs are very thin on the ground so Tuppence comes up with a plan to form 'Young Adventurers Ltd' - "Willing to do anything. Go anywhere... No unreasonable offer refused."

Tuppence often leads the way with her impetuous, charismatic nature, while Tommy’s slow, considered manner provides the perfect foil. Christie describes Tommy’s face as “pleasantly ugly – nondescript, yet unmistakably the face of a gentleman”.

Their stories were the ones Agatha Christie enjoyed writing the most; she took real pleasure from her bright young things, and they are the only detectives in Agatha Christie’s arsenal to age with each story, keeping approximate pace with Christie herself. Their adventures take them through four novels and a short story collection, marrying at the end of the first book, The Secret Adversary, and going on to have three children: twins Derek and Deborah, and an adopted daughter called Betty.

On Screen

The Secret Adversary was the first Christie feature film ever made; adapted by the Fox Film Corporation in 1928 as a silent movie for Germany titled 'Die Abenteuer G.m.b.H', which translates as ‘Adventures inc’.

It wasn't until 1953 that the couple appeared in an English adaptation, this time on BBC Radio in a series of half-hour episodes adapted from the collection Partners in Crime. They were played by Richard Attenborough and his real-life wife, Sheila Sim, and took advantage of their (then current) starring roles on stage in The Mousetrap.

In 1984, the Partners in Crime television series aired on London Weekend Television, starring James Warwick and Francesca Annis as Tommy and Tuppence. It featured ten of the fifteen short stories from the book of the same name. The two actors made a convincing couple and the lavish sets and costumes from the 1920s made this a popular series. They appeared again in 1985 with the LWT full length television film of The Secret Adversary.

It wasn't until 2005 that another screen version of the couple would appear, this time in France. Adapted by Pascal Thomas, the names were altered, Tuppence reverting to her full name, Prudence, and Tommy changing to Bélisaire. The duo appeared in two films, Mon petit doigt m'a dit... (By the Pricking of My Thumbs) in 2005 and Le crime est notre affaire (4.50 from Paddington - originally a Marple novel) in 2008.

2015 saw a brand new adaptation of two classic Tommy and Tuppence stories, The Secret Adversary and N or M? in the form of Partners in Crime, starring David Walliams and Jessica Raine.

Discover more about Tommy & Tuppence

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Tommy & Tuppence Stories

Explore all the Tommy and Tuppence stories and share your favourite with us

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A Word Search

Identify all 12 references to Tommy and Tuppence in this tricky word search

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Partners in Crime Jigsaw

Complete this digital jigsaw of Tommy and Tuppence from the 2016 BBC adaptation.

Featured Tommy & Tuppence stories

The Secret Adversary
Tommy & Tuppence
N or M?
Tommy & Tuppence
Partners In Crime
Tommy & Tuppence

Did you know?

  1. The originality of Partners in Crime is that in each story Tommy and Tuppence solve each case in the manner of a famous fictional detective – including Hercule Poirot!

  2. Throughout the series Tommy and Tuppence employ Albert, who first appears as a lift boy in The Secret Adversary. In Partners in Crime, Albert serves as their assistant at a private detective agency, and by Postern of Fate he is their now widowed butler.

  3. The Secret Adversary begins with the sinking of the Lusitania, a real life event that took place in 1915 when a German U-Boat bombed the ship just off the coast of Ireland.

  4. Christie was investigated by MI5 for including the name Bletchley (the name of Britain’s top-secret code-breaking centre) in N or M?

  5. Collins' 1966 series "The Greenway Edition" featured three interlinked fish - the same symbol first appears in Partners in Crime.

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