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Agatha Christie's Partners in Crime - Tommy & Tuppence, Set 2

Francesca Annis , James Warwick , John A. Davis    Unrated   VHS Tape
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Tommy and Tuppence stars James Warwick and Francesca Annis as Agatha Christie's husband-and-wife team of detectives. Together they zoom around 1920's England in a very posh car and solve all kinds of high-society crimes, from forgery at an exclusive nightclub to the mysterious disappearance of an Arctic explorer's fiancée. The show benefits from two charming lead performances and some wonderful period details--Annis seems to change her hat and her dress every 30 seconds--but it is at best only moderately entertaining. The years have not been kind to this type of mystery, in which murder is the equivalent of an especially tricky crossword puzzle, offering the amateur sleuths an opportunity to avoid boredom and have a terribly thrilling time. Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple survive, both in print and on film, because the central characters are interesting enough to make us forgive weak plotting and a lack of depth, but Tommy and Tuppence don't have the staying power of Christie's more famous creations. Their adventures are fun in small doses, and if you're in the mood for some witty repartee, but otherwise this series is little more than a quaint relic of a bygone age. --Simon Leake

From the Back Cover

The first husband-and-wife detective team and a PBS Mystery! favorite. Created in the 1920s by Agatha Christie, Tommy and Tuppence Beresford were the first to prove that two attractive and clever heads are better than one when it comes to solving mysteries. Fun-loving and flirtatious, they'd rather be working together on a tough case than doing almost anything else. Francesca Annis (Reckless) stars as Tuppence, in stunning period outfits created especially for the series, with James Warwick (Lillie) as the dry-witted and dapper Tommy. In this collection of episodes from the popular TV series PARTNERS IN CRIME, the stylish pair ply their trade as proprietors of Blunt's Detective Agency.

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Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD
"The Secret Adversary" and the short story collection "Partners in Crime" (both from 1922) were Agatha Christie's second and third-ever book, but their quirky protagonists, Tommy and "Tuppence" (Prudence) Beresford, were not to share the eventful career of their colleague Hercule Poirot, who had debuted two years earlier with "The Mysterious Affair at Styles;" nor that of Christie's almost equally well-loved (and personal favorite) village sleuth Miss Marple, whose first adventure ("Murder at the Vicarage") would not be published until 1930. Christie only authored three more Beresford mysteries: 1941's "N or M?" (a WWII spy thriller set in a coastal guesthouse), 1968's "By the Pricking of My Thumbs" (where a visit to a nursing home prompts them to track down the real-life object of a painting, only to find themselves hunting for a child murderer) and "Postern of Fate" (1973), the last book written by Christie (although not the last one published); more a postscript to the superior earlier stories.

Not as eccentric as Poirot and Miss Marple, Tommy and Tuppence are nevertheless immediately likeable, and perfectly cast in this 1980 - 1982 TV series with Francesca Annis and James Warwick, reprising their successful collaboration from the 1980 realization of Christie's "Why Didn't They Ask Evans?" Taking its title from the second entry in the Beresford cycle, originally only the short stories contained in "Partners in Crime" were developed for television; "The Secret Adversary," although set earlier in the literary originals' sequence and providing critical background information on the couple's friendship, was only adapted as a feature film two years later.
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Format:VHS Tape
Thank goodness for Acorn Media, which has given us the Wimsey mysteries on tapes and DVD, the longer Poirots on DVD and the shorter ones on tape. With the arrival of "Partners in Crime" (AMP 5017), there lacks only the 12th boxed set of Poirots to more or less complete the Christie cycle as it exists on this label. (It is A&E who has begun to issue the Marple mysteries on DVD and a few of the more recent Poirots.)
The best thing about this "Tommy & Tuppence: Partners in Crime" series is the outrageous costumes Francesca Annis gets to wear, the most spectacular appearing in the last episode in this boxed set. Now this is featherlight Agatha Christie, so do not expect the complex kind of case that Wimsey always--and Poirot often--has to solve. The inside joke of the T&T novels is that in each one they emulate the techniques of a famous fictional detective. For example, in one episode Tommy (James Warwick) is dressed as Father Brown and the last mystery is described by the team as a real Edgar Wallace case.
"The Case of the Missing Lady" is probably the silliest of them all, and even Tuppence is required to do a comic turn that is frankly embarrassing. "The Unbreakable Alibi" has a solution that is utterly predictable, while the same could be said about the culprit in "The Man in the Mist." "The Crackler" is probably the most satisfactory.
All in all, good lightweight fun, but few thrills. And the Annis character can get a little "too too" now and then and start to grate in a way that she does not in the novels.
Unlike the Poirot tapes, these hold two episodes each. They easily could have gotten three onto each tape, but the people at ABC overseas seem to be able to dictate how the American distributors must package their material. So do not blame Acorn Media for that.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More adventures of Tommy & Tuppence Sept. 9 2006
By bernie TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:DVD
Sunningdale Mystery

Pure deduction

After the Grate World War, Tommy Beresford (James Warwick) and Tuppence (Francesca Annis) are out of work and form a partnership in a detective agency. They eventually marry and continue their detection business. On the surface they look like they are stumbling into the answer of each mystery they solve. But upon further observance they are cunning and resourceful.

In this "The Sunningdale Mystery" story by Agatha Christie and screen play adapted by Jonathan Hales, the international Detective Agency is not finding enough clients so they go out to solve a mystery found in the paper.

In this mystery part of the Tommy and Tuppence, "partners in crime" series, Tommy and Tuppence actually go to the scene of the crime, do their deductions in Hercule Poirot fission using the little gray cells. It is unique in the fact that they do not interview any suspects.

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The Ambassador's Boots

Solve a crime and have fun to boot

After the Grate World War, Tommy Beresford (James Warwick) and Tuppence (Francesca Annis) are out of work and form a partnership in a detective agency. They eventually marry and continue their detection business. On the surface they look like they are stumbling into the answer of each mystery they solve. But upon further observance they are cunning and resourceful.

In this "The Ambassador's Boots" A story by Agatha Christie and screen play adaptation by Paul Annett, Tommy and Tuppence have just saves someone from an international kidnapping. So at an exclusive party they are introduced to the ambassador from the United States.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.1 out of 5 stars  25 reviews
36 of 40 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not quite as good as Poirot but fine on its own terms March 24 2002
By F. Behrens - Published on Amazon.com
Format:VHS Tape
Thank goodness for Acorn Media, which has given us the Wimsey mysteries on tapes and DVD, the longer Poirots on DVD and the shorter ones on tape. With the arrival of "Partners in Crime" (AMP 5017), there lacks only the 12th boxed set of Poirots to more or less complete the Christie cycle as it exists on this label. (It is A&E who has begun to issue the Marple mysteries on DVD and a few of the more recent Poirots.)
The best thing about this "Tommy & Tuppence: Partners in Crime" series is the outrageous costumes Francesca Annis gets to wear, the most spectacular appearing in the last episode in this boxed set. Now this is featherlight Agatha Christie, so do not expect the complex kind of case that Wimsey always--and Poirot often--has to solve. The inside joke of the T&T novels is that in each one they emulate the techniques of a famous fictional detective. For example, in one episode Tommy (James Warwick) is dressed as Father Brown and the last mystery is described by the team as a real Edgar Wallace case.
"The Case of the Missing Lady" is probably the silliest of them all, and even Tuppence is required to do a comic turn that is frankly embarrassing. "The Unbreakable Alibi" has a solution that is utterly predictable, while the same could be said about the culprit in "The Man in the Mist." "The Crackler" is probably the most satisfactory.
All in all, good lightweight fun, but few thrills. And the Annis character can get a little "too too" now and then and start to grate in a way that she does not in the novels.
Unlike the Poirot tapes, these hold two episodes each. They easily could have gotten three onto each tape, but the people at ABC overseas seem to be able to dictate how the American distributors must package their material. So do not blame Acorn Media for that.
25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An enjoyable romp through the swinging 1920s' London. Aug. 30 2006
By Themis-Athena - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
"The Secret Adversary" and the short story collection "Partners in Crime" (both from 1922) were Agatha Christie's second and third-ever book, but their quirky protagonists, Tommy and "Tuppence" (Prudence) Beresford, were not to share the eventful career of their colleague Hercule Poirot, who had debuted two years earlier with "The Mysterious Affair at Styles;" nor that of Christie's almost equally well-loved (and personal favorite) village sleuth Miss Marple, whose first adventure ("Murder at the Vicarage") would not be published until 1930. Christie only authored three more Beresford mysteries: 1941's "N or M?" (a WWII spy thriller set in a coastal guesthouse), 1968's "By the Pricking of My Thumbs" (where a visit to a nursing home prompts them to track down the real-life object of a painting, only to find themselves hunting for a child murderer) and "Postern of Fate" (1973), the last book written by Christie (although not the last one published); more a postscript to the superior earlier stories.

Not as eccentric as Poirot and Miss Marple, Tommy and Tuppence are nevertheless immediately likeable, and perfectly cast in this 1980 - 1982 TV series with Francesca Annis and James Warwick, reprising their successful collaboration from the 1980 realization of Christie's "Why Didn't They Ask Evans?" Taking its title from the second entry in the Beresford cycle, originally only the short stories contained in "Partners in Crime" were developed for television; "The Secret Adversary," although set earlier in the literary originals' sequence and providing critical background information on the couple's friendship, was only adapted as a feature film two years later. (The original order is restored in this video and DVD release, which features the couple's first and longest adventure as part of Set 1.)

Although "The Mysterious Affair at Styles" had already proved Christie to be a writer of exceptional talent, her first Tommy and Tuppence adventures - penned for financial reasons as much as out of a desire to write - still show her style as a work in progress, sometimes lacking certainty as to what exactly works in terms of characterization and storylines. While she succeeds, like in the first Poirot mystery, to immediately draw in her audience, and the Beresfords are presented in as much detail as the little Belgian with the many gray cells, the plotlines sometimes stretch credibility and have a whiff of the kind of story that Arthur Conan Doyle could get away with 20 years earlier, but which Christie herself (wisely) only took up infrequently later (and generally with more solidly constructed plotlines and often with Poirot as the main character). Thus, if the televised versions of these early Tommy and Tuppence stories appear somewhat less convincing than the subsequent, more acclaimed adaptations of Christie's Poirot and Miss Marple mysteries, this is at least partly owing to the literary originals themselves: The creators of the TV series reproduced the mysteries' "swinging Twenties" setting successfully and with a fine eye for detail; and Francesca Annis and James Warwick give terriffic performances as the vivacious, hat-loving Tuppence and her (almost) equally witty, slightly more settled husband.

Tommy and Tuppence's boisterous young assistant Alfred is portrayed by Reece Dinsdale (best known, since, as Guildenstern in Kenneth Branagh's "Hamlet" and D.I. Scott in the mid-1990s British cop show "Thief Takers"); and there are recurrent appearances by British TV regular Arthur Cox as Detective Inspector Marriott, in the televised version chiefly responsible for establishing the couple as owners of Blunt's International Detective Agency (in the books, the agency is a cover for the Beresfords' spy activities), who informally continues to consult them whenever he feels that Scotland Yard's official capacities have reached their limits.

Although not quite on the level of Christie's more famous mysteries and their recent TV adaptations, this series is an enjoyable romp through the the swinging 1920s' London. And who knows - maybe 20+ years after its initial airing we'll see a realization of one of Tommy and Tuppence's later adventures? Annis and Warwick might be about the right age for "N or M" now ... or even better, "By the Pricking of My Thumbs," which unlike the earlier mysteries easily stands up with the best of Christie's other works!

Also recommended:
The Secret Adversary
Partners in Crime (Tommy and Tuppence Mysteries)
By The Pricking Of My Thumbs (Tommy and Tuppence)
The Secret of Chimneys
The Seven Dials Mystery (St. Martin's Minotaur Mysteries)
Why Didn't They Ask Evans? (St. Martin's Minotaur Mysteries)
Agatha Christie's Romantic Detectives (Tommy & Tuppence 1 & 2 / Why Didn't They Ask Evans? / Seven Dials Mystery / Agatha Christie A Life in Pictures)
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Partners in Crime-The Dame's Sense of Humor July 20 2006
By Kindle Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I remember watching this series originally on PBS and enjoying it very much. I enjoyed very much watching it again. The chemistry between Tommy and Tuppence and their interplay is very entertaining. The Dame wrote this seried in a much more light-hearted vein than her usual books and the dramatization carries that humor through. The mysteries are a bit shallow but it's fun to watch these two amatuer turned professional detectives.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars All these 6 episodes, and 5 more, are available from the same company for less money! Dec 2 2013
By Tartancloak - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Buyer warning: This dvd "set 2" is merely a subset of what is already available for much less! Acorn Media produces this set of 6 episodes. But all 11 episodes of the series are already available from Acorn Media, for much less money than this subset! Why anyone would want to buy this 6-episode set, for much more money than the 11-episode set, is one mystery I can't solve. I bought this and the fuller set by mistake--because there is no list provided of what episodes are on each set. If the episodes were listed, people could see: "Oh, this set 2 is just 6 of the same episodes that are on the other, cheaper set!"
As a meager plus, this "set 2" does have cast filmographies, an "Agatha Christie biography" and "interactive trivia." I'd rather that Amazon had listed the episodes, so I wouldn't have wasted over $20 buying this. Buyer beware on this item.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An entertaining, and quite pleasing mystery set. June 3 2011
By Sassy girl - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
The Tommy and Tuppence mystery series is quite intriguing to say the least.
It takes place in Britain around the nineteen twenties or thirties.
Having read all of Christie's mystery books, this one stood
out as being a little lighter, with a hint of humor around each corner.
What pleased me the most, were the costumes
Tuppence wore during each story.
They were fabulous. Where can I buy her hats?
The actress Francesca Annis,is a perfect match for this sassy character.
As well as James Warwick was for Tommy.
What fun to watch the duo get themselves in trouble
without even meaning to do so at all.
The banter between the duo is such fun too.
It is a battle for one- upmanship in each story.
Who can solve the mystery first?
We enjoyed this DVD.
What a good break from our world of high tech investigations.
This mystery has a little bit of everything to keep one interested.
Romance,high fashion, and of course a murder or two.
I highly recommend this DVD series.
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