Tommy & Tuppence Beresford
These are the only detectives of Christie's that are actually married. We also see them through their years
as they experience full life. The first novel in which they appear (the second that Christie wrote) is titled
The Secret Adversary. Young Tuppence (formerly known as Prudence Cowley) works at an officer's hospital
during the war, while Thomas is a young lieutenant in the military, having traveled around the world. He meets
his childhood friend Tuppence after released from service, and they start the Young Adventurers Ltd., advertising
"Willing to do anything, go anywhere. Pay must be good. No unreasonable offer refused." From that they get stuck
into a plot that could ruin the government and they end up in dangerous espionage, to finally succeed and foil
the enemy. (One of J. D. Hobbs' absolute favorites!)
They then get married and six years pass. Tommy has a desk job with the British Secret Service, and Tuppence
is at home. The chief of British Intelligence--Mr. Carter, as seen in the previous novel--invites them to take
over the International Detective Agency (as seen in the excellent short story collection, Partners in Crime).
This detective bureau (headed by one Theodore Blunt to spy for the Bolsheviks) was in need of a new head; Carter asks
Tommy to impersonate Mr. Blunt and to simply: 1) solve crimes and to 2) report any communist activity in England. Aiding
the new Mr. Blunt is Tuppence, who takes on the role of his confidential secretary, Miss Robinson.
Tuppence came up with
their slogan--"Blunt's Brilliant Detectives"--which quite stuck with them throughout the short stories. The stories were
parodies of fictional detectives known to the reading public of the 1920's. In each story, Tommy and Tuppence would
assume the methods/mannerisms of famous detectives/detective teams of literature. Tommy explained it like this: "You see,
Tuppence, I can't help feeling that we are more or less amateurs at this business--of course amateurs in one sense we
cannot help being, but it would do no harm to acquire the technique, so to speak. These books are detective stories by
the leading masters of the art. I intend to try different styles, and compare results." In their adventures chronicled in
Partners in Crime, they have "solved four baffling murder mysteries, rounded up a gang of counterfeiters, ditto
gang of smugglers . . . one jewel robbery, two escapes from violent death, one case of missing lady reducing her figure,
one young girl befriended, an alibi successfully exploded, and alas! one case where we made utter fools of ourselves. On
the whole, jolly good! We're very clever, I think."
In their middle years, they're thirsting for more adventure and have a desire to aid the war effort of WWII.
They get another assignment from British Intelligence to discover the identity of a Nazi spy in N or M?
Both Tommy and Tuppence have their 'his/her' roles in their tracking down the spy, which ends up in a fantastic
twist at the end of the novel. They appear almost thirty years later in the novel By the Pricking of My
Thumbs (a line taken from Shakespeare's Macbeth). In this novel, Tommy and Tuppence uncover a secret
about a house familiar to Tuppence, connected with a painting given to Tommy's aunt. The novel ends in quite an
By the end of their crime-fighting careers, they've grown old and read letters from their twins Derek and Deborah, and
adopted daughter Betty. Their fifth and last novel, Postern of Fate, was the last novel written by Agatha Christie
and published in 1974. Now elderly, Tommy and Tuppence have retired and moved to a resort town, complete with a Manchester
terrier named Hannibal. Tuppence and Tommy end up discovering the death of a young boy there in connection with the selling of
submarine plans to a foreign government sixty years in the past. If the reader observes closely, he or she will notice Agatha
Christie recalling her own childhood in the novel through locations and objects.
Featured in all of the Beresford stories is Albert Batt. Albert first met Tommy & Tuppence as an elevator/lift boy in
the novel The Secret Adversary. He then became the office boy for their International Detective Agency and also
managed the Duck and Dog pub. Years later, he returned to the Beresfords as their butler and friend (although he burns
their dinners!). He sticks to his intuition and has proven himself worthy to his employers by finding clues, although he "was
not given to the exercise of deep reasoning". The problem is he thinks up too many wild ideas about criminals (from detective
fiction) at which Tommy scoffs and says: "Oh, be your age, Albert. You've outgrown that sort of stuff years ago!"
Tuppence Beresford is the one who always rushes into things without common sense, although she displays great
intuition (like Albert) and intelligence, not to mention pride. When Tuppence is on a hunch, she's "like a terrier on the
scent". Tommy, however, is a slow thinker and loves to take his
time in making decisions. He likes to be sure of the situation before acting quickly, unlike his wife Tuppence. Mr. Carter,
the British Intelligence Chief, once described the Beresford couple as "pace and stamina".