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Towards Zero (Agatha Christie Collection) Mass Market Paperback – 3 Mar 2008

4.5 out of 5 stars 49 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; Masterpiece Ed edition (3 Mar. 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007136803
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007136803
  • Product Dimensions: 11.1 x 1.9 x 17.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 72,055 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

“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.

--This text refers to the Unknown Binding edition.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market 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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Format: Mass Market 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.
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Format: Mass Market 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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Format: Paperback
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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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The quality of Christie's writing varies enormously, from barely literate (extraordinary, really -- where was her editor?) to pretty darned good. Towards Zero is definitely of the latter kind. Together with The Hollow (a Poirot) it's probably my favourite, albeit mainly for the characterisation and the portrayal of relationships. In fact, it seems almost a pity that there has to be a crime, although the suspense while waiting for it makes up for that. I found myself really feeling for the characters, and thinking about them afterwards. I do rather wonder if she got a bit fed up with it towards the last few pages, but it doesn't matter; she'd done the job by then. Don't miss it.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Probably one of the best Christie mysteries - and that is very high praise indeed. Who killed the old lady in her bed? And was the solicitor murdered as well? If so, by whom? As the book progresses, it could be any one of about 7 people! "That one's too obvious" you think - then s/he comes back into the reckoning. "Couldn't be that one" you think - then you find that they had a motive too. No sign of Poirot or Marple, so Superintendent Battle and his nephew, Inspector Leach, have to try to solve it themselves (although Battle does think what Poirot might have done at one moment, and gains inspiration from it). Agatha Christie conceals the motive, yet everyone seems to have one. But was she murdered for money, or for her estate, or to gain freedom from her, or because she was getting in the way of something, or...... Excellent story, one of her best.
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