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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unusual detective story - Christie at her best !
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...
Published on 11 Jan 2001

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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars More twists and turns than a maze!
This is story features one of Agatha Christie's lesser known detectives, Superintendent Battle who is in five of Agatha Christie's novels.
Althought this story starts off slowly it builds up pace after the first dead body turns up.
Christie manages to build up the suspense and distrust. After the first death is put down to a bad heart you know that there is...
Published on 4 Mar 2004 by Suzanne Moore


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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 (Worcester, England) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Towards Zero (Agatha Christie Collection) (Paperback)
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
This review is from: Towards Zero (Agatha Christie Collection) (Paperback)
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 review is from: Towards Zero (Agatha Christie Collection) (Paperback)
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. (perhaps inevitably)

This was the very last Christie story that I read of all her stories but, nonetheless, not predictable because of the unusual plot and pattern. A very personal choice, I know, but I really would give this the vote for my favourite Christie story.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Towards Zero "Book" v Towards Zero "TV Adaptation", 16 Aug 2008
By 
Jo D'Arcy (Portsmouth, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Towards Zero (Agatha Christie Collection) (Paperback)
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. The TV adaptation stuck true to the characters of Kay Strange, Mary Aldin and Ted Latimer and with some poetic licence there were some slight adjustments to the endings, but in the main I found it was fairly true to the book as it could be when slotting in another one of Christie's infamous detectives, Miss Marple. The book uses the insider knowledge of Hercule Poirot as a reference marker.

If I had read the book first then watched the programme I may have found it was an insult to what is a very good book. Nonetheless I enjoyed both 'versions' but for me the book (and any book) will always outshine any TV/Film adaptation of it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of Agatha Christie's best, 8 May 2010
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This review is from: Towards Zero (Agatha Christie Collection) (Paperback)
I loved this book - it deserves to be more famous. The characters of Audrey and Nevile Strange, Mr Treves and Camilla Tressilian are excellent, and the setting is atmospheric and dramatic. I thought I'd been clever and guessed the murderer for once - but I was wrong! I also liked the insights into Superintendent Battle's personality and family life. In the 2007 film version - which I also enjoyed and which successfully maintained the "feel" of the book despite introducing Miss Marple into the story - the character of Angus MacWhirter was cut out, which I actually felt didn't detract from the story, as he seemed rather subsidiary to the tale. Altogether, though, I thought this was an ingenious story and a riveting read!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars VERY READABLE...................., 26 Aug 2009
By 
Saturnicus "Saturnicus" (Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This book has been described as one of Dame Agatha';s best, but I am still a big fan of "The ABC Murders and "Murder is Easy". I found it very easy to read and it was nice to meet someone other that Hercule Poirot, Jane Marple or the Beresfords, the astute Superintendant Battle.
Unfortunately there was a page missing from my copy quite near the beginning so I had to obtain another elsewhere - that is how much I was enjoying it.
Classic Christie; Elderly invalid is murdered in isolated country house on the clifftop. No shortage or red herrings and gay young things, jolly good sporting types and colonials. I will give no more of the plot and spoil it for the reader.
A useful observation from Dame Agatha is that murder is not the start of a mystery, but the culmination of a motive. Does that make sense? That is the thread which runs through this enjoyable book.
Certainly it is amongst her best written works, but I was rather disappointed in the ending. I felt is was rather rushed.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another top rate Christie, 29 Oct 1999
Different (in some ways) from most, with an excellent plot. Very very few people would possibly guess the outcome of this particular one (even my sister and she gets most).
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Agatha Christie At Her Best, 30 Mar 2012
By 
Eileen E (North Lincolnshire, England) - See all my reviews
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Having been an Agatha Christie fan for many years I have read all her books. This one I feel rates as one of the best. As you read the book you become involved in the atmosphere and tension between the characters. As is typical with Agatha Christie the plot is excellent. Usually when I read a non Hercule Poirot book I miss him but that was not the case for this book which keeps the reader involved without the little Belgium detective and his eccentricities. A must read for any Agatha Christie Fan.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant mystery, featuring Inspector Battle., 6 Jun 2001
By 
W. O'NEILL "Sochalien anglais" (Wirral, England.) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Battle is one of her lesser known detectives, but I take my hat off to him for getting this one right! From the very start, there is a stormy tension over the group, matched by the sultry weather outside. The two enormous twists will leave you amazed and the wickedness of the killer is high even by Agatha standards! The second one I read and after the awful 'Clocks', a wonderful introduction. An essential read.
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Towards Zero (Agatha Christie Collection)
Towards Zero (Agatha Christie Collection) by Agatha Christie (Paperback - 3 Mar 2008)
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