Agatha Christie's Partners in Crime/BBC

8:38:00 AM

Partners in CRime review

Before writing this I googled: how many books did Agatha Christie write? Eighty-two detective novels! And my grandmother owned every single one. Her living room could have held one of Christie's famous  close the door/solve the crime endings, plush velvet, floral pillows, oriental carpets, but her pride and joy was her bookcase that ran along an entire wall, filled with thrillers, detectives, horror and pulp. The Agatha Christie's ones came all numbered,  I remember crossing them off one by one, and discussing them afterward with Kit, defending our faves, mine And then there where none, Five little pigs was hers.
One thing we agreed on: Christie ruled. (Girl traveled around the world, knew everything about poison, surfed (!), loved dogs, and is the bestselling female author ever, that is the definition of ruling.)
The BBC is celebrating what would have been Agatha Christie's 125 birthday by adapting Partners in Crime and Then there were none ( about that one, I read it when I was eleven and still remember my reaction to the plot twist, and I forget books I have read easily, pick them up later, to realize half way through that it all sounds kind of familiar. I know, it's bad.)

Partners in crime is now available on Itunes. It features Christie's amateur sleuthing couplee Tommy and Tuppence Beresford. It's a six episodes series, dived in two parts. The first three parts are called The Secret adversary and are based on the namesake novel. 
Christie wrote it in 1922,  the story now has been transported to 1950 Cold War England.  Tommy (David Walliams) reminds me of W.t.Pooh, well meaning, cute and clumsy. We meet him in France walking towards the train clutching a small box, while his wife Tuppence (Jessica Raine) trails after him carrying all their luggage. In his precious box a queen bee is buzzing, as he does, with anticipation; beekeeping is his grand scheme to provide for Tuppence and their son George.
Fortunately for Tuppence, who is quite dismissive of this business opportunity, instead delving into Strong Poison,  a girl named Jane Finn, disappears on the train, but not before hiding an important microfilm in Tommy's box. 
Soon George is shipped of to boarding school  beekeeping is put on hold and Tommy and Tuppence are pulled ( of pushed by the thrill seeking Tuppence) in a life of spies, international intrigue, fighting crime and the boredom of married life as a team. 

The clues comes fast, secondary characters fly by, disguises, cons, and code breaking are all tackled in no time, but this is what Tommy and Tuppence were born to do, especially the bored housewife, who after reading detective novels all her life, is ready for danger IRL. 


There is something about Christie books that always intrigued me. The coziness of murder. She admitted plotting while doing the dishes, and I can see her pouring tea afterwards a grin on her face knowing that she just murdered some other innocent soul in her own kitchen. Her stories envelop the darkest side of our society in a cocoon made of tea, cakes, scrumptious settings and slippers after sleuthing. I don't know what is more disturbing, a straight forward Noir, the kind of chilling drama we are more used to now, or a detective couple who witnesses the underbelly of London, and then eats cake and makes marmalade. It always felt kind of naughty and delicious. Not unnerving at all, even with with buckets of blood ( ever seen Murder on the Orient Express?) or old ladies swinging from the ceiling, with rope around their necks. And still it is all restrained, civilized, safe, and presents an orderly way of dealing with the worst violence. 

Partners in Crime review BBC


Partners in crime, this show, works because of the charming back and forth between the husband and wife, played to perfection by David Walliams and Jessica Raine.
Its always difficult portraying  a couple after their wedding day, settled love is boring to watch.  But not when we witness the cutting remarks, buckets of ice water thrown over poor Tommy after a drunken night in one of those Soho places, Tuppence escaping her 50's apron existence, slipping in gambling holes all the while wearing a platina wig, and Tommy's almost constant endearing male humiliation. The old fashioned charm clashes with the seriousness of the outside world. But that is quintessential Christie. 
Imagine the other side of the coin; Elisabeth and Phil on the Americans, their Noir sham marriage, their always uncertain love, their depravity and the unbelievable tension it brings. After an episode of The Americans you are shattered. After Partners in crime you are amused and have a real craving for tea, crumpets and the company of one's gran and her meters long bookcase. 


TO ALL THOSE WHO LEAD
                   MONOTONOUS LIVES
                   IN THE HOPE THAT THEY MAY EXPERIENCE
                   AT SECOND HAND
                   THE DELIGHTS AND DANGERS OF
                   ADVENTURE

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