James Warwick and Francesca Annis as Tommy and Tuppence Beresford

The first ever illustration of Tommy and Tuppence from 1923

Tommy and Tuppence Beresford are fictional detectives in the work of Agatha Christie. Their full names are Thomas Beresford and Prudence Beresford (née Cowley). First introduced in Christie's second novel, The Secret Adversary, Tommy and Tuppence became standards in the Christie canon, appearing in four novels and a short story collection.

Overview

When Tommy and Tuppence first appear in 1922, they are both unemployed and looking for work after the end of WWI. Struggling for work after the war was something Christie had experience of first-hand and finding a new sense of purpose was a common plight for the upper middle class of their generation. Tuppence appears as a charismatic, impulsive and intuitive person, while Tommy is less imaginative, and less likely to be diverted from the truth, "he is not clever, but it is hard to blind his eyes to the facts." They therefore make a good team, complimenting each other well and balancing one another out. It is in this first book The Secret Adversary that they meet up after the war, and come to realise that, although they have been friends for most of their lives, they have now fallen in love with each other.

Christie often used the Beresfords to experiment with thrillers, playing with and often parodying the genre. The short story collection Partners in Crime takes this to an extreme; each case is solved in the vein of a different famous literary detective, including a certain Belgian.

Unlike many other recurring detective characters, including the better known Christie detectives, Tommy and Tuppence aged in time with the real world, being in their early twenties in The Secret Adversary and in their seventies in Postern of Fate, their final appearance. In their early appearances, they are portrayed as typical upper middle class "bright young things" of the 1920s, and the stories and settings have a more pronounced period-specific flavour than the stories featuring the better known Christie characters. As they age, they're revealed to have raised three children - twins Deborah and Derek and an adopted daughter, Betty. Throughout the series they employ a man named Albert, who first appears as a lift boy who helps them in The Secret Adversary, and in Partners in Crime becomes their hapless assistant at a private detective agency; by Postern of Fate he has become their butler and has been married and widowed. 

List of Appearances

Novels

Year
published
Title
1922 The Secret Adversary
1941 N or M?
1968 By the Pricking of My Thumbs
1973 Postern of Fate
Last novel Christie wrote

Short Stories

UK Collection UK Title US Collection
Partners in Crime (15) "A Fairy in the Flat" Partners in Crime
"A Pot of Tea"
"The Affair of the Pink Pearl"
"The Adventure of the Sinister Stranger"
"Finessing the King/The Gentleman Dressed in Newspaper"
"The Case of the Missing Lady"
"Blindman’s Buff"
"The Man in the Mist"
"The Crackler"
"The Sunningdale Mystery"
"The House of Lurking Death"
"The Unbreakable Alibi"
"The Clergyman’s Daughter/The Red House"
"The Ambassador’s Boots"
"The Man Who Was No. 16"

Film

Year Title Notes
1928 The Secret Adversary The first Agatha 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.
2005 Mon petit doigt m'a dit... French adaptation of By The Pricking of my Thumbs. Adapted by Pascal Thomas, the names were altered, Tuppence reverting to her full name, Prudence, and Tommy changing to Bélisaire.
2008 Le crime est notre affaire A sequel to the previous film. This time an adaptation of a Miss Marple novel, 4.50 from Paddington.

Television

Tommy and Tuppence's most bountiful appearances to date have been on television. Two series' have been made featuring the characters, as well as an episode of Agatha Christie's Marple being an adaptation of a Tommy and Tuppence novel.

Year Title Notes
1984 The Secret Adversary A feature length special made to introduce Agatha Christie's Partners in Crime
1984 Agatha Christie's Partners in Crime The series ran for one season between 16 October 1983 and 14 January 1984 with ten episodes. It featured James Warwick and Francesca Annis as it's title stars.
2006 By the Pricking of my Thumbs An episode of Agatha Christie's Marple, the plot of the story was fundamentally changed to allow Miss Marple to become the primary detective. Features Greta Scacchi as Tuppence and Anthony Andrews as Tommy.
2015 Partners in Crime This series, created in celebration of 125 years since the birth of Christie, is set in the 50's, thus allowing for the same actors, David Walliams and Jessica Raines, to portray Tommy and Tuppence in each story.


Theatre

Year Title Notes
2014 The Shepherd's Warning A murder mystery dinner run by After Dark Events. This is an interactive adaptation featuring the characters.
2015 The Secret Adversary Agatha Christie’s The Secret Adversary was presented for the stage for the first time in 2015 as a Watermill Theatre production, adapted from the Christie novel by Sarah Punshon and Johann Hari for a company of seven actors. A play in two acts, it was described in the publicity as being “shot through with fast-paced action, comedy, live music and a dash of romance”. The live music was performed by the cast. Tuppence was played by Emerald O’Hanrahan, and Tommy by Garmon Rhys. It opened and ran at The Watermill Theatre, West Berkshire Playhouse from Thursday the 12th of February to Saturday the 21st of March, and then toured until Saturday the 9th of May, ending its run at the Rose Theatre, Kingston.
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