By M. Makinen

Christie's books depict ladies as adventurous, self reliant figures who renegotiate sexual relationships alongside extra equivalent strains. ladies also are allowed to disrupt society and but the texts refuse to work out them as double deviant as a result of their femininity. This booklet demonstrates precisely how quietly innovatory Christie used to be relating to gender.

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Beginning in 1922 as two de-mobbed ‘bright young things’ looking for work and adventure after the First World War, the Beresfords are the least alienated of the detectives Christie created (for all that Tuppence’s femininity is less constrained by establishment mores in the quote above), though they are not strictly detectives so much as intelligence agents. G. Wodehouse’s ‘Blandings’ novels,5 and perhaps serves some of the same distancing tropes for the reader who is invited to take them less seriously than Poirot or Marple.

But Tommy, in a new kind of gender relationship, reassures Detecting Deviancy 29 him, ‘ “I’ve great faith in Tuppence” ’ (SA, p. 268). Indeed throughout the five novels, there is a running trope that allows Tuppence to reject the concept of being weaker or inferior, and asserts a deliberate equality in their relationship. ‘I’ll look after her, sir,’ said Thomas. ‘And I’ll look after you,’ retorted Tuppence, resenting the manly assertion. ‘Well, then, look after each other,’ said Mr Carter [Tommy’s boss], smiling.

Poirot’s first name, a diminution of ‘Hercules’, continues the parodic element of her fictional engagement with the genre, since the short (five foot four), egg-headed, dapper figure who is opposed to action, to ‘doing’ rather than reflecting, with his momentous moustaches, meticulous clothes and patent leather shoes, is anything but a heroic figure. As Light, Rowland and Plain argue, he is a comment on the post-war 1920s attempt to find a new model for masculinity as a reaction to the machismo heroic model demanded before and during the war.

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