Secret Adversary
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A must-read for fans of stories from the Golden Age of Detective Fiction, The Secret Adversary is Agatha Christie at her finest. In the midst of spinning an engrossing tale of adventure and international intrigue, Christie uses the novel to introduce the characters Tommy and Tuppence, both of whom figure in many of her books and short stories.


Publié par
Date de parution 01 août 2010
Nombre de lectures 6
EAN13 9781775418603
Langue English

Informations légales : prix de location à la page 0,0164€. Cette information est donnée uniquement à titre indicatif conformément à la législation en vigueur.


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The Secret Adversary First published in 1922 ISBN 978-1-775418-60-3 © 2010 The Floating Press
While every effort has been used to ensure the accuracy and reliability of the information contained in The Floating Press edition of this book, The Floating Press does not assume liability or responsibility for any errors or omissions in this book. The Floating Press does not accept responsibility for loss suffered as a result of reliance upon the accuracy or currency of information contained in this book. Do not use while operating a motor vehicle or heavy equipment. Many suitcases look alike.
Prologue Chapter I - The Young Adventurers, Ltd Chapter II - Mr. Whittington's Offer Chapter III - A Set Back Chapter IV - Who is Jane Finn? Chapter V - Mr. Julius P. Hersheimmer Chapter VI - A Plan of Campaign Chapter VII - The House in Soho Chapter VIII - The Adventures of Tommy Chapter IX - Tuppence Enters Domestic Service Chapter X - Enter Sir James Peel Edgerton Chapter XI - Julius Tells a Story Chapter XII - A Friend in Need Chapter XIII - The Vigil Chapter XIV - A Consultation Chapter XV - Tuppence Receives a Proposal Chapter XVI - Further Adventures of Tommy Chapter XVII - Annette Chapter XVIII - The Telegram Chapter XIX - Jane Finn Chapter XX - Too Late Chapter XXI - Tommy Makes a Discovery Chapter XXII - In Downing Street Chapter XXIII - A Race Against Time Chapter XXIV - Julius Takes a Hand Chapter XXV - Jane's Story Chapter XXVI - Mr. Brown Chapter XXVII - A Supper Party at the Savoy Chapter XXVIII - And After
IT was 2 p.m. on the afternoon of May 7, 1915. The Lusitania had beenstruck by two torpedoes in succession and was sinking rapidly, whilethe boats were being launched with all possible speed. The women andchildren were being lined up awaiting their turn. Some still clungdesperately to husbands and fathers; others clutched their childrenclosely to their breasts. One girl stood alone, slightly apart fromthe rest. She was quite young, not more than eighteen. She did not seemafraid, and her grave, steadfast eyes looked straight ahead.
"I beg your pardon."
A man's voice beside her made her start and turn. She had noticed thespeaker more than once amongst the first-class passengers. There hadbeen a hint of mystery about him which had appealed to her imagination.He spoke to no one. If anyone spoke to him he was quick to rebuff theoverture. Also he had a nervous way of looking over his shoulder with aswift, suspicious glance.
She noticed now that he was greatly agitated. There were beads ofperspiration on his brow. He was evidently in a state of overmasteringfear. And yet he did not strike her as the kind of man who would beafraid to meet death!
"Yes?" Her grave eyes met his inquiringly.
He stood looking at her with a kind of desperate irresolution.
"It must be!" he muttered to himself. "Yes—it is the only way." Thenaloud he said abruptly: "You are an American?"
"A patriotic one?"
The girl flushed.
"I guess you've no right to ask such a thing! Of course I am!"
"Don't be offended. You wouldn't be if you knew how much there was atstake. But I've got to trust some one—and it must be a woman."
"Because of 'women and children first.'" He looked round and lowered hisvoice. "I'm carrying papers—vitally important papers. They may make allthe difference to the Allies in the war. You understand? These papershave GOT to be saved! They've more chance with you than with me. Willyou take them?"
The girl held out her hand.
"Wait—I must warn you. There may be a risk—if I've been followed. Idon't think I have, but one never knows. If so, there will be danger.Have you the nerve to go through with it?"
The girl smiled.
"I'll go through with it all right. And I'm real proud to be chosen!What am I to do with them afterwards?"
"Watch the newspapers! I'll advertise in the personal column of theTimes, beginning 'Shipmate.' At the end of three days if there'snothing—well, you'll know I'm down and out. Then take the packet tothe American Embassy, and deliver it into the Ambassador's own hands. Isthat clear?"
"Quite clear."
"Then be ready—I'm going to say good-bye." He took her hand in his."Good-bye. Good luck to you," he said in a louder tone.
Her hand closed on the oilskin packet that had lain in his palm.
The Lusitania settled with a more decided list to starboard. In answerto a quick command, the girl went forward to take her place in the boat.
Chapter I - The Young Adventurers, Ltd
"TOMMY, old thing!"
"Tuppence, old bean!"
The two young people greeted each other affectionately, and momentarilyblocked the Dover Street Tube exit in doing so. The adjective "old"was misleading. Their united ages would certainly not have totalledforty-five.
"Not seen you for simply centuries," continued the young man. "Where areyou off to? Come and chew a bun with me. We're getting a bit unpopularhere—blocking the gangway as it were. Let's get out of it."
The girl assenting, they started walking down Dover Street towardsPiccadilly.
"Now then," said Tommy, "where shall we go?"
The very faint anxiety which underlay his tone did not escape the astuteears of Miss Prudence Cowley, known to her intimate friends for somemysterious reason as "Tuppence." She pounced at once.
"Tommy, you're stony!"
"Not a bit of it," declared Tommy unconvincingly. "Rolling in cash."
"You always were a shocking liar," said Tuppence severely, "though youdid once persuade Sister Greenbank that the doctor had ordered you beeras a tonic, but forgotten to write it on the chart. Do you remember?"
Tommy chuckled.
"I should think I did! Wasn't the old cat in a rage when she foundout? Not that she was a bad sort really, old Mother Greenbank! Good oldhospital—demobbed like everything else, I suppose?"
Tuppence sighed.
"Yes. You too?"
Tommy nodded.
"Two months ago."
"Gratuity?" hinted Tuppence.
"Oh, Tommy!"
"No, old thing, not in riotous dissipation. No such luck! The cost ofliving—ordinary plain, or garden living nowadays is, I assure you, ifyou do not know—"
"My dear child," interrupted Tuppence, "there is nothing I do NOT knowabout the cost of living. Here we are at Lyons', and we will each of uspay for our own. That's it!" And Tuppence led the way upstairs.
The place was full, and they wandered about looking for a table,catching odds and ends of conversation as they did so.
"And—do you know, she sat down and CRIED when I told her she couldn'thave the flat after all." "It was simply a BARGAIN, my dear! Just likethe one Mabel Lewis brought from Paris—"
"Funny scraps one does overhear," murmured Tommy. "I passed two Johnniesin the street to-day talking about some one called Jane Finn. Did youever hear such a name?"
But at that moment two elderly ladies rose and collected parcels, andTuppence deftly ensconced herself in one of the vacant seats.
Tommy ordered tea and buns. Tuppence ordered tea and buttered toast.
"And mind the tea comes in separate teapots," she added severely.
Tommy sat down opposite her. His bared head revealed a shockof exquisitely slicked-back red hair. His face was pleasantlyugly—nondescript, yet unmistakably the face of a gentleman and asportsman. His brown suit was well cut, but perilously near the end ofits tether.
They were an essentially modern-looking couple as they sat there.Tuppence had no claim to beauty, but there was character and charm inthe elfin lines of her little face, with its determined chin and large,wide-apart grey eyes that looked mistily out from under straight, blackbrows. She wore a small bright green toque over her black bobbed hair,and her extremely short and rather shabby skirt revealed a pair ofuncommonly dainty ankles. Her appearance presented a valiant attempt atsmartness.
The tea came at last, and Tuppence, rousing herself from a fit ofmeditation, poured it out.
"Now then," said Tommy, taking a large bite of bun, "let's getup-to-date. Remember, I haven't seen you since that time in hospital in1916."
"Very well." Tuppence helped herself liberally to buttered toast."Abridged biography of Miss Prudence Cowley, fifth daughter ofArchdeacon Cowley of Little Missendell, Suffolk. Miss Cowley left thedelights (and drudgeries) of her home life early in the war and came upto London, where she entered an officers' hospital. First month: Washedup six hundred and forty-eight plates every day. Second month: Promotedto drying aforesaid plates. Third month: Promoted to peeling potatoes.Fourth month: Promoted to cutting bread and butter. Fifth month:Promoted one floor up to duties of wardmaid with mop and pail. Sixthmonth: Promoted to waiting at table. Seventh month: Pleasing appearanceand nice manners so striking that am promoted to waiting on the Sisters!Eighth month: Slight check in career. Sister Bond ate Sister Westhaven'segg! Grand row! Wardmaid clearly to blame! Inattention in such importantmatters cannot be too highly censured. Mop and pail again! How are themighty fallen! Ninth month: Promoted to sweeping out wards, where Ifound a friend of my childhood in Lieutenant Thomas Beresford (bow,Tommy!), whom I had not seen for five long years. The meeting wasaffecting! Tenth month: Reproved by matron for visiting the pictures incompany with one of the patients, namely: the aforementioned LieutenantThomas Beresford. Eleventh and twelfth months: Parlourmaid dutiesresumed with entire success. At the end of the year left hospital in ablaze of glory. After that, the talented Miss Cowley drove successivelya trade delivery van, a motor-lorry and a general! The last was thepleasantest. He was quite a young general!"
"What brighter was that?" inquired Tommy. "Perfectly sickening the waythose brass hats drove from the War Office to

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