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Secret Adversary

In one of her earliest books, Secret Adversary, Agatha Christie describes the minds of three different British men. I have met each type before, and I find, like Ms Christie, that I have a favorite.

The first two are swiftly described here:

Beneath the weary manner of the one and the professional reserve of the other, lay the same quality of mind, keen-edged like a rapier.

The third follows here:

Outwardly, he's an ordinary clean-limbed, rather block-headed young Englishman. Slow in his mental processes. On the other hand, it's quite impossible to lead him astray through his imagination. He hasn't got any – so he's difficult to deceive. He worries things out slowly, and once he's got hold of anything he doesn't let go. . . He is not clever, but it is hard to blind his eyes to facts. . .

Once I would have leapt for the rapier mind, but it was the third man, Christie's hero, who foiled both rapiers just because it was hard to blind his eyes to facts.

The person who combined both styles was a woman – Dame Agatha Christie.