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Towards Zero (The Christie Collection) [Paperback]

Agatha Christie
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)

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Book Description

9 April 1996 The Christie Collection
An uneasy houseparty gathers for dinner in an old-fashioned English resort - the distinguished solicitor; the frail dowager; the famous sportsman with his vivacious new wife; his unhappy former wife and the man who loves her. All part of a carefully-laid plan for murder.

Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; (Reissue) edition (9 April 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0006163858
  • ISBN-13: 978-0006163855
  • Product Dimensions: 17.4 x 10.8 x 1.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,415,849 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Born in Torquay in 1890, Agatha Christie began writing during the First World War and wrote over 100 novels, plays and short story collections. She was still writing to great acclaim until her death, and her books have now sold over a billion copies in English and another billion in over 100 foreign languages. Yet Agatha Christie was always a very private person, and though Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple became household names, the Queen of Crime was a complete enigma to all but her closest friends.

Product Description


“Masterly storytelling”
Times Literary Supplement

“Agatha Christie has surpassed herself”
New York Times

From the Back Cover

What is the connection between a failed suicide attempt, a wrongful accusation of theft against a schoolgirl, and the romantic life of a famous tennis player?

To the casual observer, apparently nothing. But when a houseparty gathers at Gull's Point, the seaside home of an elderly widow, earlier events come to a dramatic head.

Agatha Christie was born in Torquay in 1890 and became, quite simply, the best-selling novelist in history. She wrote 79 crime mysteries and collections, and saw her work translated into more languages than Shakespeare. Her enduring success, enhanced by many film and TV adaptations, is a tribute to the timeless appeal of her characters and the unequalled ingenuity of her plots.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unusual detective story - Christie at her best ! 11 Jan 2001
By A Customer
Traditional whodunnit beginning unusually with an unnamed person writing a plan for murder, to take place at the end of the story. An ingeniously planned crime and a hard-to-guess solution even for Christie regulars. Subtle clues and red-herrings abound. Characters more interestingly developed than usual for Christie. Visitors to Salcombe in Devon may spot resemblences to the story's location. Deserves filming despite the absence of Poirot and Miss Marple.
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An overlooked classic 9 April 2007
By C. Knowles VINE VOICE
I have been a Christie fan for 35 years, and I agree with the previous reviewer. To my mind this is one of the best books she ever wrote. Perhaps because it does not feature Poirot or Marple it never really seems to get the attention it deserves. Christie is often criticised for being Plot Plot Plot and precious little atmosphere. It is suggested that creating a convincing atmosphere is beyond her. Well this is the book which disproves that theory. You could cut the atmosphere in this one with a knife. From the word go a strange, menacing, almost dreamlike aura hangs over this book. It is, apart from a (very) tangenital similarity to 'Murder Is Easy' in terms of motivation, quite unlike anything else she wrote. It seems to be one of those Christies that readers come to half-heartedly once they have exhausted the Poirots and Marples but I would place it pretty high on her list of classic titles, in fact I am not sure that I wouldn't place it at number one!
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of Christie's vey best. 16 July 2006
By Robbo
Towards Zero is one of Agatha Christie's very best books. The characterisation is excellent with lots of well drawn rounded characters. The setting of the cornish coast in September is also very atmospeheric.

However this book is so good as Christie places the main murder late on in the book viewing, as is the case,murder being the end of a series of events rather than the start.

The solution is totally unexpected but if you look back through the book and the characters it is the only possible solution that would work.

A true classic
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Top notch and my personal favourite Christie 4 Jan 2011
This is one of a handful of Superintendent Battle stories and one of the minority of Christie stories not featuring either Poirot or Miss Marple but do NOT be put off by that.

The story begins in February with an unnamed person writing a plan to murder another unspecified person later in the year, in September. The plan is clear and carefully detailed by someone obsessed with one thought alone, of murder more than six months into the future.

In September, Lady Camilla Tressilian hosts several guests for a fortnight at her home, Gull's Point. Early during the party, a visitor tells a story to all present about a child killing another child with a bow-and-arrow. Is the murderous child connected to the events unfolding at Gulls Point? Violent death occurs at Gull's Point only days later and Superindendent Battle and his nephew, Inspector Leach, must work out the who, how and why of the murder that has taken place.

The story structure is very unusual but the inclusion of an intricate plot, unusually subtle clues and an adaptation of the real-life Devon locality of Salcombe and the Yealm estuary as a setting makes for a masterpiece.

The theme and motivation for murder is unusual for Christie, so too is the outline portrayal of a certain type of psychopathic behaviour which is extremely fascinating to discern. The characters are unusually well drawn and one can only speculate how much Christie drew on her own life as an inspiration for this story; further study of this might be fruitful.

The TV adaptation on location, with some alterations (most notably including Miss Marple) is very acceptable but the original plot structure (crucially) and some of the subtlety of the clues and red herrings in the original story is lost.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
I picked up this book to read because I had recently seen the ITV adaptation of MARPLE (2008). I knew Miss Marple was not in the book, so wanted to see how true to the book they had been.

Agatha Christie is a competent story teller who weaves the criminal with the ordinary everyday descriptions of places, buildings, areas and people. She does not fail here. The set up for what appears to be a very cut and dry case of murder by person or persons unknown starts from the very beginning.

The introduction of Mr Treves and his tale of a previous case immediately has the reader on edge. This tale is repeated later to reiterate some point, when Mr Treves takes an invitation for dinner at Gull's Point, the setting for the murder. All gathered at Gull's Point have a connection there from the past and the present, through marriage and family.

Once the murder has been committed, the appearance of Superintendent Battle leads us to follow him as the clues are discovered and the anomalies that he cannot put his finger on lead us all towards `zero hour' - when we discover with the other guests and residents of Gull's Point the real perpetrator of the crime and the motive.

Not having read any other Agatha Christie's with Superintendent Battle in, I sensed I was missing some of his back story but this was a mere oversight on my point. I will endeavour to rectify this.

In comparison to the television version, the character Mr MacWhirter has been taken out to enable to slot in Miss Marple's role. This character was an odd diversion within the book, another story completely alien. However as the story progressed, MacWhirter had his own motive for being in the area, his presence is then justified.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Sea air and madness
'Towards Zero' was published 1944. In it, bed-ridden Lady Tressilian follows her usual habit and invites a group of guests to her home, Gull's Point, to enjoy the sea air. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Aletheuon
3.0 out of 5 stars Towards Zero
For me this book was not a thriller. I found the style of writing governed obviously by the location,class and period as boring. It was something of a disappointment to me.
Published 3 months ago by Ms. E. Simpson
5.0 out of 5 stars Agatha Christie Towards Zerio
Another Agatha Christie CD to add to my collection. I love all Agatha Christie's work and this one didn't disappoint.
Published 5 months ago by M. E. Currey
5.0 out of 5 stars Great
Gripping and classic

The romantic aspect. Was a bit odd but a very good read.

I could not put it down at times
Published 6 months ago by grapemuncher
5.0 out of 5 stars Another brilliant story
What more can anyone say about Agatha. Superb mystery which keeps one guessing.until the end. Recommended to Kindle readers and a fully deserved five stars.
Published 7 months ago by gary c atkins
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely brilliant novel in its own right
Towards Zero is a masterpiece. There is a very moody sense of place and imminent danger and the writing style is quite contemporary. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Moonlight Shadow
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Detective Novel Without Miss Marple or Poirot!
Superintendent Battle (one of Agatha Christie's less well known detectives) investigates a case where it becomes clear there is one obvious suspect. Read more
Published 11 months ago by David Parkin
5.0 out of 5 stars good reading
Good reading, now I can complete my collection of Agatha Christie's (in the signature edition) and read all the mysterie novels
Published 13 months ago by Sarah Van Maele
5.0 out of 5 stars Surprising suspense!
Not your typical Christie and definitely more difficult to work out what is going on then the Poirot or Miss Marple stories. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Dizzie
5.0 out of 5 stars Think again
One of the best Agatha Christie crime thrillers. It really draws you in, and you can't put it down. Grand.
Published 19 months ago by Pretinha
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