Agatha Christie’s Partners in Crime (review)

A scene from Agatha Christie's Partners in Crime
A scene from Agatha Christie’s Partners in Crime

Like many great husband and wife detectives, Tommy and Tuppence Beresford can’t abide a mystery, just as nature abhors a vacuum. Anything slightly amiss arises and it’s off to the races.

Tuppence (Wolf Hall’s Jessica Raine) cannot sit still if something is even slightly off; her nose for news takes her to strange places like peep shows, crime dens, and street scenes worthy of an Agatha Christie tale.

Tommy (Little Britain’s David Walliams) is timid one. He hangs back when a woman appears to be running for her life on a train leaving London. Tuppence climbs on the seats, looks out the window and witnesses her abduction.

The series is set in the 50s’ as England pulls itself out of the physical and psychological damage done in WWII with Nazi Germany and find the means and will to start anew. London was flattened by bombs but hope exists and finds expression in Tuppence’ sparkling personality and pro-active manner.

Tommy’s reluctance to make waves is soon put to the test when the mystery of the abducted train girl grows deeper and darker. He develops not just confidence but moves to help his wife restore an ideal world.

War is over but there’s no ideal world just yet. There’s another, an invisible war between East and West as networks of spies and secrets grow. It is the Cold War with its very real threat of atomic disaster.

If the US president or Russian head of state pushes the red button, well, it’s the end. Atomic bomb attacks on Pearl Harbour and Hiroshima happened not so many years earlier.

Tuppence represents the gung ho idealised spirit of post war Britain, pulling up her socks and making things happen. The series is funny, quaint, whimsical and sweet at times, at others its pure danger, depravity and death. So it’s not to be taken for granted.

Back to the abducted girl. The première episode of the series follows her case right into the dragon’s jaws, one of the most dangerous criminal circles London has ever seen.

They’re a violent, vengeful lot but their crimes have wider meaning than run of the mill stuff. They’re talking missions and spies and networks. It’s an all new level of threat and Tommy and Tuppence recognise at once. They throw themselves into it with often reckless abandon.

The series is beautifully shot, the clothes are gloriously fifties, colourful and fun but elegant and the cars are positively eye-popping.

The first series of two, three part mysteries launches Tonight on Acorn TV and continues through October 1.

Oh and Agatha Christie’s grandson, Mathew Prichard co-produced!

More info on Acorn’s website and also check out the official Agatha Christie site.

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