Six years have passed since the Beresfords began their sleuthing partnership in THE SECRET ADVERSARY. Tommy now has a desk job with the British Secret Service, and Tuppence, much to her displeasure is at home, though when the Chief of British Intelligence asks them to take over the International Detective Agency, both jump at the chance of new adventures.The fifteen stories contain parodies of fictional detectives who were well-known to readers of the 1920s. In each story Tommy and Tuppence assume the mannerisms and methods of a different detective or detective team, including Sherlock Holmes.
I am told the stories contain parodies of Sherlock Holmes, John Thorndyke, Father Brown, and Hercule Poirot, but not being a reader from the 1920s I did have trouble in some stories in working out who the "original" sleuth was. There are quite good synopses of the individual stories both on the Agatha Christie site and on Wikipedia, so I won't repeat them here. The Wikipedia one in particular identifies whose methods each story is a a parody of.
Interestingly, all of the short stories had been published individually between 1923 and 1928 and were then arranged in a slightly different order for the 1929 collection.
I think I preferred the characterisation of Tuppence and Tommy in these stories to their first appearance in THE SECRET ADVERSARY. Tuppence in particular comes over with a mind of her own and a good sense of intuition, even if occasionally the stories are a little "twee". I also quite like her Scotland Yard detective Inspector Marriot. The stories are bound together with an overall theme of a rather vague Russian plot.
They fit also with my idea that Christie often set herself tasks to achieve- in this case her challenge was to see if she could adopt the styles of other popular crime fiction writers, and to use the icons they used.
I regret that I did not manage to read these stories in the correct time frame, that is in the 1929 slot, between THE SEVEN DIALS MYSTERY and THE MURDER AT THE VICARAGE.
My rating: 4.1