Inline Towards Zero

Book of the Month

Book of the Month: Towards Zero

Although set in September, the twists and turns of Towards Zero could keep readers guessing until Christmas. The story is set in the UK, on a less than harmonious trip to Gull’s Point, the residence of Lady Tressilian and the late Sir Matthew.

The key players are Nevile Strange, a well-known and handsome professional tennis star, his wife Kay Strange, and his ex-wife, Audrey Strange. But what would possess Lady Tressilian to invite such an unusual party to spend a month in her midst? Simply put, she didn’t. At Nevile’s suggestion, both Strange wives are forced to congregate at the house. The resultant atmosphere is turbulent.

Yes, I am puzzled, I must confess. The true feelings of the parties remain obscure, but in my opinion, there is gunpowder about. The explosion may come any minute.
Mr Treves

Observers to the debacle - wise Mr Treves, silent Thomas Royde, and hardworking Mary Aldin - cannot see how this trip will end well. Needless to say it doesn’t! In the wake of a violent murder, Superintendent Battle is forced to cut short his own holiday to investigate. Evidence from an unconnected witness, Angus MacWhirter, lead the policeman and his Inspector nephew round in circles. Who will go to the gallows for the crime?

Published in 1944, first as a serialisation then as a novel, Towards Zero is the fifth and final story to feature Superintendent Battle. The book was dedicated to Robert Graves who Christie became acquainted with during World War II. It has undergone various adaptations, including a 1956 play, written by Agatha Christie herself, a televised Marple episode in 2007 (starring Geraldine McEwan) and a 2010 BBC Radio 4 drama. The audiobook is read by Hugh Fraser.

All I ask is that you should sternly restrain your critical faculties ... when reading it.
From Agatha Christie’s dedication to Robert Graves

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