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Towards Zero Paperback – Print, February 1, 2011
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“Masterly storytelling.” (Times Literary Supplement (London))
“Agatha Christie set the bar.” (Katherine Hall Page, Agatha award-winning author of the Faith Fairchild Mysteries)
From the Back Cover
What is the connection among a failed suicideattempt, a wrongful accusation oftheft against a schoolgirl, and the romantic lifeof a famous tennis player?
To the casual observer, apparently nothing.But when a house party gathers at Gull’s Point,the seaside home of an elderly widow, earlierevents come to a dramatic head. As SuperintendentBattle discovers, it is all part of a carefullylaid plan—for murder.
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.
The structure of the plot is hinted at in the prologue by old Mr Treves, a highly respected lawyer and criminologist: "I like a good detective story, but they 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 at a certain time on a certain day...all converging towards a given spot..And then when the time comes--over the top! Zero hour. Yes, all of them converging towards zero..."
Christie is famous for her closed-circle mysteries, and in that respect this novel is much like many of her others. Various circumstances bring a group of family and aquaintances to the home of Lady Tressilian at Gull's Point for a holiday. After the murder, the pool of suspects is limited to this group, each with a potential motive to murder. The previous half of the book is devoted to establishing what could possibly make someone want to savagely kill old Lady Tressilian.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Christie keeps you guessing until a very surprising ending. Great plot. I have read almost all of her full length novels. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Reginald Jones
The murders and plot twists were good, but I don't like the pretend eyewitness fiction that Superintendent Battle engages in. Weird coupling at the end. Not my favorite book.Published 2 months ago by M. Heiss
Agatha Christie is the Queen of Mystery Writers, not because she is unique, but because she is delightfully comfortable. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Janet Nail
I felt her other stories were more interesting and involved…but I still liked!Published 2 months ago by R.R.Huebner
If the ending of this story wraps up a bit too neatly, the psychological twist is still valid and Agatha Christie plays fair with the reader regarding the main mystery. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Theresa D. Crusius
The twist at the end was first rate. I knew who the killer had to be but the motive was not the one I thought.Published 4 months ago by Tish
Superintendent Battle was very good and a little different then Hercule P.Published 4 months ago by LA