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on 7 September 2017
Another Agatha Christie great! Set at the beginning of World War 2, this is Tommy and Tuppence's best adventure yet. The storyline starts off gently in a small coastal town, with a number of believable characters such as you might find in any seaside guesthouse - but as you move through the chapters, the plot becomes more intriguing .... and as with all Christie's novels, it keeps you guessing right up till the very end. I thoroughly recommend this as an excellent and exciting read.
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on 18 May 2017
I love the Tommy and Tuppence characters and stories. Hugh Fraser does a great job reading them. I enjoy the way that memories of having read the books surface as I listen and, far from spoiling the surprises, enhance my enjoyment of the originals!
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on 13 January 2018
Good easy listening
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on 6 September 2017
good story line
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on 18 August 2017
Excellent condition
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on 23 December 2017
A classic novel set in World War two, which isn't a who-done-it, but more of a who-are-they? The "they" being the big cheeses behind a fiendish Fifth columnist plot, who are allegedly in a seaside town amongst the normality. Everything seems so normal, but Tommy and Tuppence, hired to roust out the fiends, soon learn that the resort is far from normal, and is teething with sinister undercurrent and intrigue. A must read, especially from a historic point of view. Dame Christie paints the WW2 background very well. Love the characters. Slow at first, this book soon pick up real quick, its exciting plot unraveling to a nail-biting conclusion with a big surprise.
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on 31 October 2010
One of 5 books featuring Tommy and Tuppence Beresford, an amateur but quasi official detective duo, this is, in my opinion, by far the best. All 5 are interesting in terms of the characters themselves, who worm their way into the reader's affections, but they vary greatly in terms of quality as mystery novels. This one is well plotted with many twists and turns and is a real page turner.

I finished it today, and it's the last of the 5 in terms of the order I read them in (I read them in a random order). My ranking as far as quality is as follows: N or M?, The Secret Adversary, By The Pricking of My Thumbs, Postern of Fate, and Partners in Crime. Chronological order is as follows: The Secret Adversary, Partners in Crime, N or M?, By The Pricking of My Thumbs, Postern of Fate.

All 5 books are very different, and by no means formulaic. The differences in style may be because they were each written many years apart, spanning several decades, long enough for the author's writing style to have gone through many changes; or it may be deliberate, reflecting the main characters' own journey through life and marriage. Either way, it keeps things fresh. They are all worth reading. Perhaps the most different is the second one, Partners in Crime, which is largely episodic and reads almost like a collection of short stories, linked by a fine strand.

Returning to N or M?, I can't say too much about it without revealing the plot, but there is an added layer of interest to modern readers since it was both written and set during World War II. This is no period piece, but the genuine article, written perhaps to provide light relief during a time of great trouble but very much entrenched in the horrors of the time. It's easy at times to slip into observing "ironic" turns of phrase of the kind that have been written by authors writing today but setting their works in that time. Then we are almost immediately brought to attention almost with a sharp prod by the realisation that Agatha Christie did NOT know what was going to happen with the war, and that a successful outcome for our country was by no means assured.

Casting all of that aside, it is, quite simply, an on the edge of your seat good read. Tommy and Tuppence are in jeopardy, and although we know that all will be well because they survive to be in later books, it doesn't seem to matter, or to lessen the tension in any way.

The book begins with a bored couple whose children are doing their bit for the war effort, but who themselves are deemed past their sell by date. Needless to say, they both have other ideas and before long are both in the thick of things as spies. Buy this book and enjoy.
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on 26 June 2001
N or M? is almost a direct link on from 'The Secret Adversary', except in the Second, rather than the First World War. No matter - the setting is perfect and the characters drawn in wonderful Christie style. Also, unlike the later two novels (By the Pricking of my Thumbs and Postern of Fate), there is actually a mystery to solve and enough clues to get it. The mix of mystery and adventure is well done and the plot a good one. Reccommended.
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VINE VOICEon 4 April 2006
Ever since reading "The Secret Adversary" I've been a fan of Tommy and Tuppence. They bring humor and sillyness into the world of mystery and suspense.
In N or M we see this again. Tuppence refuses to be placed into any sort of stereotypical feminine role, but does so in a manner that that delights me as a reader. Tommy is with her all the way. Like he says: "from the first we were a joint venture". When he encounters her at Sans Souci (the suspected headquarters of the fifth column), he is delighted and awed. When his boss discovers that they were both tricked he laughed.
It turns out (of course) that it is a good thing that Tuppence is there. Without each other they would not have been able to solve the mystery. There are no clear suspects. Like all Agatha Christie books (and perhaps all others of her genre) first one then another person is suspected of being the culprit. The ending is not surprising but unexpected nevertheless.
This was a terrible time in Europe. Things were black and white and the propaganda at that time in GB was very anti-German, understandably so. In many ways this book shows how group mentality can work and how our attitudes are affected by what is shoved in our faces every day - elementary psychology.
I guess this one thing I really like about Christie's books. She shows how people are and how they think. The culprit is generally just any old person living a normal life, but who then manages to encounter extraordinary circumstances. Sure, there are mass murderers and crazy people in her books as well, but in general the culprit might just as well have been my neighbor.
Enjoy! I certainly did.
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on 10 November 2014
Having just visited the Isokon (Lawn Road Flats, Hampstead) it was interesting to read this unusual Agatha Christie novel about spies, written whilst she was living at the Isokon during WWII. A great who-dunnit set during the early years of WWII but with a twist as it doesn't deal with the usual murder & suspects but with who is the spy.

There is some thought that Agatha Christie may have picked up some ideas for the novel whilst living at the Isokon as it was also the home af a number of spies during that time, including Kim Philby. Who knows what snatches of conversation she picked up whilst dining in the resident's restaurant!?
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