Towards Zero – Agatha Christie

Towards Zero


Nevile Strange and his wife have been invited to stay at a stately home, just when his ex-wife will be there as well. It's tense, and goes completely off the rails when someone is murdered.


This was an Agatha Christie novel that was brand new to me, and I believe it’s my first Superintendent Battle story as well – I seem to have started at the end of that five book series. It’s an interesting, if somewhat unbalanced book.

Battle himself is fine, if not particularly charismatic. Christie uses him to have a little fun at her own expense – poking fun at Hercule Poirot – which comes off nicely. The plot, though, I found needlessly convoluted, and the book far longer than it should have been. The characters were individually interesting, but the ending fairly thin and not highly credible (and in one aspect, seemed to tie up loose ends at random just to do so). At least one intriguing red herring is laid out and then abandoned entirely, while a deus ex machina plays a substantial role. One gets the impression that this was thrown together quickly and with insufficient attention or editing. The title has little to do with anything at all.

A pleasant enough read, but not one I’ll remember long.

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