DVD Release Date: January 29, 2013


Based very closely on stories by Agatha Christie, Partners in Crime: The Tommy and Tuppence Mysteries was a 1983 ITV production later re-broadcast on PBS's Mystery! James Warwick and Francesca Annis starred as husband and wife sleuths Tommy and Prudence 'Tuppence' Beresford. Now available on a three DVD set, all 11 of their light-hearted adventures will take viewers back to England in the 1920s when amateur sleuths could solve crimes while exchanging flirtatious banter and trying to outdo each other.

The stories begin with a two-hour "prequel, The Secret Adversary, in which chums Tommy Beresford and Tuppence Cowley seek a post-World War I diversion. Taking a page from the Bulldog Drummond yarns, they place an ad offering their services as adventurers. After being asked to find a missing lady named Jane Finn, British agent Carter (Peter Barkworth) decides he likes their style and employs them to find a secret paper that survived the Lusitania. By the end of the tale, Tommy and Tuppence have uncovered the mastermind named Mr. Brown and have fallen in love.

In "The Affair of the Pink Pearl," the first of the ten 50 minute TV episodes, some time has passed and Tommy and Tuppence are married. Realizing Tuppence craves new adventures, Tommy purchases the Blunt’s Detective Agency. He takes on the guise of Mr. Blunt and Tuppence pretends to be his assistant, Miss Robinson. Albert (Reece Dinsdale) becomes their office gate-keeper, puffing up the pair's importance to potential clients.

From that point forward, the duo are called on to investigate all manner of unusual crimes, usually by the idle rich who'd prefer the police not be involved. Beyond the witty dialogue between the couple, the scripts are spiced with references to other figures associated with mysteries, notably Edgar Wallace, Sherlock Homes, and Father Brown. They find stolen jewels hidden inside soap, poison in chocolates, and murder on the golf course. Along the way, Tuppence builds her hat collection and Tommy proves he's ready for pretty much anything to keep his spouse active and happy.

The settings are appropriately stagey, as all the characters elocute like they're in front of a live audience. The dialogue is all rather literary and often melodramatic, but this fits as the stories are clearly meant to be entertaining drawing room puzzles full of red herrings and having good sport with British mannerisms.

If this sounds like your cup of tea, this collection, now with SDH subtitles, looks very good despite Acorn's disclaimer that even new technology couldn't polish away all the original flaws. Agatha Christie fans shouldn't miss the set, British mystery fans should enjoy it, and even hyped-up Americans used to pumped up TV detectives might like these relaxing period pieces built on humor and inventive storytelling. You gotta have a stone heart not to fall in love with Tuppence . . .

Follow Here To Purchase Agatha Christie's Partners in Crime: The Tommy & Tuppence Mysteries

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