Counting this towards Mawlid An-Nabi because it has a green cover!
I read this book four times over the holidays. It was so good! Why didn't we get more Superintendent Battle books?! I don't know what else to say, but prepare for a glowing review.
So "Towards Zero" starts off with a retired lawyer Mr. Treves notes something odd when he reads something and is off somewhere unknown. An unknown figure hatches a plan and laughs. A man is hospitalized after a suicide attempt. And then we have Superintendent Battle going to his daughter's school to deal with an accusation of stealing. This plays into the later part of the book, but I loved Battle calling the teacher out for filth before departing with his daughter.
Then the book moves to follow Nevile Strange. Nevile is newly married to a second wife (Kay) and they are making plans to visit his former guardian's widow, Lady Tressilian. Lady Tressilian loved Nevile's first wife Audrey, and Kay is arguing against visiting her. When it comes out that Audrey suggested that they both visit Lady Tressilian in September (during her normal visit) Nevile is happy that they can maybe finally be friends. Kay is angry about the visit and exclaims that Audrey still wants Nevile.
The book countdowns to September. We don't know what is going to happen, but we have a lot of people afraid about Nevile coming together again. Christie introduces other characters into this, Mary Aldin who is Lady Tressilian's maid. And Thomas Royde, who is a childhood friend of Audrey's.
When all parties come together at the house, we get scenes of jealousy, anger, and the feeling that someone is plotting something. Of course we get a sudden death and another death that is definitely murder. Battle is on the scene due to vacationing, and he helps out his nephew Inspector Leach on the case.
I loved all of the characters, even the ones that you are supposed to despise because of the way that Battle paints them. Nevile seems foolish and is hung up on Audrey. Kay is jealous and shouldn't have married him at all. Mary Aldin I thought had a keen eye for human behavior and I liked her and Thomas Royde's interactions together. I am perplexed by the character of Mr. Treves though. If you think someone is a murderer, how are you going to just announce it to said person (in a room of people, but still) and think that is going to go well for you?
When the murder occurs, all signs points to one person, but Battle quickly unearths that it can't be this person and starts to slowly peel away who the guilty party is. I loved how Battle references Hercule Poirot too which cracked me up.
The writing was good and the flow worked. I did have to go back and re-read a few lines here and there because I got a bit confused when we read about what the murderer did. That said, the book was really good.
The setting of the book is primarily Gull's Point near Saltcreek. I wish that Christie had included a drawing of the home and rooms, because until the reveal, I was still perplexed how the murder took place. It was definitely a case of tricking the mind in this one that could have worked out, if only.
The ending was a bit much though. I know I gave this 5 stars, but the ending made me roll my eyes a bit. I just felt like saying, really to one of the characters and hoping for the best for them.
Wow. This was so good. I took a while to read this one since the first few pages didn't grab me at all. However, when I finally went back to it, I was totally engrossed. We have the second book in the Superintendent Battle series. I read "Cards on the Table" a few years back and realized that was considered the 3rd book in his series and decided to work back from book 1. I finished "The Secret of Chimneys" and just gave it three stars. Christie does such a great job with not showing her hand until the very end. Believe me I went what the what at the ending and had to go back and re-read after all is revealed.
"The Seven Dials Mystery" starts off with house guests staying at Chimneys. It seems to be a lively group of bright young things who decide to play a joke on one of the young men who seems to oversleep every day. The joke goes off without an issue, but then a young man, Gerry Wade, is found dead.
"The Seven Dials Mystery" for the most part follows two characters throughout. Lady Eileen Brent (otherwise known as Bundle) and Jimmy Thesinger. Jimmy was staying at Chimneys when Gerry died, and many think it was an accidental overdose. However, when Bundle comes across another man who was staying at Chimneys who was shot to death, she and Jimmy team up to figure out what connection there is between these deaths and a place called Seven Dials.
Bundle was awesome. I loved her. I wish that we got another book starring her. She was definitely a mini-Miss Marple/Poirot. Once she realizes that something is going on, she is determined to do whatever it takes to solved the mystery of Seven Dials. She does go and meet with Superintendent Battle who I liked way much more in this one than in book #1.
Jimmy Thesinger seems happy to play a fool (not an ass) and realizes that things are pretty deep when Bundle brings him the connections between two deaths and Chimneys. He starts investigating and starts suspecting some higher ups in society.
The book's ending was so freaking awesome I had to go back and re-read this as soon as I finished.
Wow! I am liking the twists and turns in this one. I am currently at chapter 23 titled "Superintendent Battle in Charge." I have really enjoyed reading how Bundle (Lady Eileen Brent) is working things out in her own way about the mysterious Seven Dials and how this ties into two deaths that she knows about. She definitely seems to be the Poirot/Marple in her group of naive men (Bill Eversleigh and Jimmy Thesinger).