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Towards Zero Paperback – Print, February 1, 2011


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks; Kangaroo Pocket Book, 21st Printing November 1974 edition (February 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062073540
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062073549
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 5.3 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #403,622 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“Agatha Christie has surpassed herself.” (New York Times)

“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.


More About the Author

Agatha Christie was born in 1890 and created the detective Hercule Poirot in her debut novel, The Mysterious Affair at Styles (1920). She achieved wide popularity with The Murder of Roger Ackroyd (1926) and produced a total of eighty novels and short-story collections over six decades.

Customer Reviews

Christie was a master and this is one of her finest novels.
George Duncan
The idea of what "Toward Zero" means keeps the pace moving very quickly, like a ticking clock, running out of time to the end of the book.
SpirituallySpeaking
I have read all of Agatha Christie's books and this is one of my very very favorites.
Joseph Yeater

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

31 of 32 people found the following review helpful By D. Recio, SJ on July 14, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
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.
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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Elera Tempest on January 9, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
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 !
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Antoinette Klein on May 6, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
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.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By tatianaromano13@hotmail.com on July 18, 1998
Format: Mass Market Paperback
[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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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Scott E Amundsen on January 4, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
"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!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By RachelWalker on June 14, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This has to be one of Agatha Christie's best ever books. There are a lot of them, yes (Around 15!) but i would suggest that this taut thriller is probably within the top five.
The characters are very well drawn. Realistic and believeable. The story is tense, not too overdramatic, and suspenseful. The story begins brilliantly (rather like the beginning of And Then there Were None) with all the characters seperately going about their own thing, slowly unfolding the reasons why they come to be at Gull's Point over this fateful weekend. It opens with esteemed lawyers discussing criminal trials...then moves to a murder carefully planning out the deed...onto newlywedded famous tennis player with his new wife Kay...to the attempted suicide of man by driving himself over a cliff. (A man to return to Gull's Point in the future to see the place where he almost died, only to become an important factor in a murder investigation that will change his life...and so on.
The setting is good. The plot is different from some of her other stuff. (Something all her best books have in common, an element of extreme originality in solution, plot, setting, or character.)
This is actually a brilliant thriller. The atmosphere is fear-filled, and the solution brilliant. She double-trumps the reader's expectations and assumptions once again, in an incredibly fine detective novel.
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