Set during World War II, Agatha Christie’s riveting novel in her Tommy and Tuppence series follows the unlikely espionage agents as they pursue a pair of Nazi spies who have murdered Britain’s top agent—now a movie on both Acorn TV and PBS.World War II is raging, and while the RAF struggles to keep the Luftwaffe at bay, Britain faces a sinister threat from “the enemy within”—Nazis posing as ordinary citizens.With pressure mounting, the intelligence service appoints two improbable spies, Tommy and Tuppence Beresford. Their mission: to seek out a man and a woman from among the colorful guests at Sans Souci, a seaside hotel. But this assignment is far from an easy stroll along the promenade—N and M have just murdered Britain’s finest agent and no one can be trusted.

As light reading between more demanding literary works, Agatha Christie never fails. Although Tommy and Tuppence were always my least favourite sleuths of Agatha Christie’s, the detective formula largely follows the same formulas as in the Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple stories.

This one has a bit of Fawlty Towers about it. It’s on the eve of World War II, and T & T go sleuthing in a sleepy seaside boarding house. There they meet the usual suspects: a retired major, a strange foreign woman, a dimwitted elderly woman and her hypochondriac husband, a seemingly devoted mother and her child, a suspicious young German, etc. Will T & & be able to unravel the spies of the ‘fifth column’ before Hitler invades Britain, or will they be found out …?

Although the hotel boasts of no Basil Fawlty, the story is like a comedy of manners here and there, with some delightful phrases and characterizations. The hypochondriac coughs aggressively, the little child goes into ecstasies of mirth, the imbecile wife murmurs pacifically and so on. It got a bit soppy toward the end and was, in essence, predictably unpredictable.

My tattered copy is a testament to the days when I first began my English book collection, searching the dusty bookshelves in second-hand shops up and down Charing Cross Road. I first read this book back then but remember not a single thing. So, less demanding may also mean less rewarding, but there’s something to be said for a bit of brain candy before (and after) more taxing reading experiences. Dostoevsky, here I come!


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Kimchi and calamari. It sounds like a quirky food fusion of Korean and Italian cuisine, and its exactly how Joseph Calderaro feels about himself. Why wouldnt an adopted Korean drummer—comic book junkie feel like a combo platter given:(1) his face in the mirror (2) his proud Italian family. And now Joseph has to write an essay about his ancestors for social studies. All he knows is that his birth family shipped his diapered butt on a plane to the USA. End of story. But what he writes leads to a catastrophe messier than a table of shattered dishes—and self-discovery that Joseph never could have imagined.

This book was truly stunning.

The thing that at first pulled in me to the book is the way that Joseph is Korean. I lived in Korea amid my senior year of secondary school, and Cherished it… what’s more, I appreciate any positive references to Korean culture, dialect, sustenance, and so on. I cherished that he was from Busan, which is truly near where I lived when I was there.

So the start of the story is basically: Joseph, a Korean kid, is received as an infant by an Italian-American family. He’s raised really Italian… eating pasta three times each week (in his words)… with the huge more distant family, and dab, spot, dab. And after that his eighth grade English educator gives his class a task to compose a 1500-word paper about their family line. So he resembles, “Uhhh… I’m received! I don’t know ANYTHING about my Korean legacy!” So he goes on a kind of social and familial investigation, supported by his closest companion (a web master) and another Korean family who simply moved into the territory.

I don’t realize what it resembles to be received or to be… sandwiched between two exceptionally solid societies (I’ve recently got the one in number culture, myself), yet I figure the writer made a truly extraordinary showing with regards to of composing Joseph’s story in a way that enabled me to venture into his shoes for a little time. It was an extremely intriguing and interesting background that I’m happy I could have!

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