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Hardcover Towards Zero (The Agatha Christie Mystery Collection) Book

ISBN: 0553350110

ISBN13: 9780553350111

Towards Zero (The Agatha Christie Mystery Collection)

(Book #5 in the Superintendent Battle Series)

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Format: Hardcover

Condition: Very Good

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Book Overview

One of Agatha Christie's own ten favorite novels, Towards Zero puts Superintendent Battle and Inspector Leach on the case as they investigate the murder of an elderly widow.What is the connection... This description may be from another edition of this product.

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Carefully plotted, suspenseful, and a personal favorite.

If Christie's Towards Zero (1944), published after The Moving Finger (1943) and before Death Comes As the End (1945), ranks as a personal favorite, it does so largely because it is one of Christie's novels which I return to repeatedly and find myself quickly engrossed, even though I know its ending. Christie's power in Towards Zero is her ability to create a sinister air which permeates this novel written at the height of her career. While the absence of Miss Marple or Hercule Poirot may disappoint Christie fans, Superintendent Battle, whose role remains relatively marginal for much of the action of the novel, is the primary detective in the story. Like many of Christie's novels, Towards Zero is an English countryhouse murder mystery in which a limited number of suspects all congregate in one particular location. Lady Tressilian's home, Gull's Point, overlooks a river which empties into Easterhead Bay. There, Lady Tressilian lives in relative peace with her companion, Mary Aldin, a sheepish young woman who acts as a secretary to Lady Tressilian. As the late summer approaches, Lady Tressilian finds herself hosting a series of guests, particularly her late husband's ward, Nevile Strange, accompanied by his new wife, Kay. Unfortunately, Nevile's first wife, Audrey, has also been invited. Christie, hardly prone to comedy comparable to a Noel Coward play, allows us to see the competing affections between these three characters. Why did Nevile leave his first wife whom everyone loved? Why does Kay find Audrey frightening? And why, after being rejected, does Audrey agree to come and visit Gull's Point at the latter end of the summer? Eventually, we meet Mr. Treves, a kindly, well-meaning solicitor, whose considerable past experience allows him to speak with some authority on murderers and their victims. Unfortunately, after recounting an incident in which two children playing eventually lead to a fatality, an audience member finds Mr. Treves knowledge far too significant to ignore. Who among the guests at Gull's Point might be responsible for placing an "out of order" sign on an elevator so that an aging Mr. Treves would have to climb, much to his peril, flights of stairs? Christie's novel of suspense allows us briefly into the mind of the killer and while she never reveals anything that might give the end away, she manages to keep readers guessing until the last minute.

Definitely One of Christie's Best

Agatha Christie was at the top of her form in the 1940's and this novel first published in 1944 could very well be her very best. Not only do we have an outstanding detective story complete with murder, motives, opportunities, red herrings, and numerous suspects, but we also have Christie probing the mind of a psychopathic killer. She has done this in other works, but never so brilliantly as she does it in "Towards Zero." The setting is the lovely seaside estate of Lady Tressilian, a widow with no close relatives. However, several distant relations often visit her and our killer has chosen just such an occasion when there will be a houseparty as his "zero hour." Audrey Strange is an especially memorable character from this novel as is her ex-husband Nevile, a well-known tennis star who is visiting with his current wife Kay. Other characters include: Mary Aldin, companion/secretary to Lady Tressilian ; Thomas Royde, an old friend home on leave; Ted Latimer, a friend of Kay's before her marriage to Nevile, and Superintendent Battle who returns for his finest appearance of all the five Christie novels he is in. A young girl's trouble at school, a failed suicide attempt, and a tragic automobile accident from the past all figure prominently in this excellent story with an unforgettable and chilling ending.


Call me dumb, but this is my all-time sentimental favorite that left me gaping the 1st time I read it (waaay back when I was still in mini-skirts & pony-tails). Years - and dozens of Christie - later, it still stands high as the most amazing murder web ever-penned. A touch of romance here & there doesn't hurt either. A stunner woven with magnetic story-telling, glittering characters & a sensational, mind-shattering ending. Pure EVIL !

Fascinating and Unusually Constructed

"Towards Zero," one of Christie's lesser-known works, is a stunner nonetheless. The plot is not constructed in her usual pattern; the murder comes rather late, and Christie's penchant for misdirection is perhaps at its best here. The story begins by pointing in one direction, then reverses itself and points in quite a different direction. The preliminary chapters are also unusual; they set the reader up for several surprises that come at the very end. Read this one carefully!

A Classic Christie

[from the prologue] "[murder stories] begin in the wrong place! They begin with the murder. But the murder is the end. The story begins long before that-years before sometimes-with all the causes and events that bring certain people to a certain place on a certain day." This book begins with the planning of a murder [by an unknown hand], and keeps you guessing as to the actual victim. If you think that you know, you are probably wrong. It was enjoyable from beginning to end, and with a classic surprise ending.
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