Towards Zero, by Agatha Christie

March 27, 2011 at 13:09 (Book Reviews, Fiction, Mediocre Books, Mystery, Thriller) (, , , )

6/10

At its most fundamental level, this is the perfect “typical” mystery story, and even somewhat clichéd. There are an entire roomful of suspects, each with ample opportunity to do the wicked deed, dark secrets dredged up from darker pasts and motives aplenty. That sort of thing can become rather tiresome, and invariably leads to the cynical reader abandoning all hope of guessing the ending, and the optimistic reader guessing wrongly.

The two points on which this story redeems itself admirably are the interesting idea of the countdown to death, and the pleasing humanity of the detective, Battle. The anecdote told of him at the beginning would be delightful even if it didn’t slip in a clue or two as to the type of the crime; and in a genre of clairvoyant Poirots and unfazable Marples, Christie’s addition of an honest, sometimes puzzled, but genuinely relatable hero was especially endearing. The narrative device of the leadup to the fateful zero hour was a little muddied by the sheer neuroticism of some of the characters, and it could be said that Christie showed her hand just a little too early; tried just a little too hard to convince the reader just how crazy some of her creations were. A dash of pepper on the ground might throw a bloodhound off the scent, but it becomes immediately clear that something fishy is going on, and a reader ought never trust an emphatic author too much. This was, then, a good mystery and an enjoyable book, but does not show Christie at the top of her game.

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1 Comment

  1. cute pictures said,

    GREAT BLOG! You are one of the best writers I’ve seen in a long long time. I hope you keep writing because people like you inspire me!

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