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Klockan K (1944)

av Agatha Christie

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Serier: Superintendent Battle (5)

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2,193415,048 (3.72)1 / 127
An elderly widow is murdered at a clifftop seaside house... 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. It's all part of a carefully paid plan - for murder...… (mer)

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engelska (38)  franska (1)  danska (1)  spanska (1)  Alla språk (41)
Visa 1-5 av 41 (nästa | visa alla)
One of the best Agatha Christie books: modern, innovative, people-focused and with a detective who feels like a real person

This is one of the best Agatha Christie books I've read. Although it was published in 1944, it feels very modern. The pace is brisk. The paths of multiple characters are followed simultaneously without any initial explanation of how the relate to each other or the murder. The characters, including the detective, feel like real people rather than cogs in the plot. The denouement requires a little bit of a stretch but Christie carries it off because, by then, the reader is less invested in the solution to a puzzle than they are in seeing justice done.

I rather liked the "Towards Zero" idea that a murder is not the start but the culmination of something and so, to be properly understood, the story of the murder needs to start not with the death but by following, over months, the paths of people who will collide with or contribute to the murder.

It was also nice to have an Agatha Christie murder where the protagonists were not filtered through the eyes and ego of a "great detective" but exist in their own right and are primarily interested in each other.

For once, the detective who will hunt down the killer is shown as a normal person: a man with a wife and a daughter. He's competent, confident and thoughtful without being arrogant or inappropriately curious about the lives of others. I wanted to applaud him for the way he dealt with his daughter's headmistress, and with his daughter when there is an incident at her school.

By the time we reached the first death, Superintendent Battle had barely made an appearance but the air was heavy with scents of both victims and predators.

What makes this such a good novel is Agatha Christie's ability to make all the characters relatable and memorable with very few words. I liked that she avoided making it clear who the author approves of. This added to the challenge of figuring out who did what with whom.

I think this is the first Christie novel that I've read where I felt some empathy with each of the characters, even the ones that were hard to like.

I listened to the audiobook version in which Hugh Fraser delivered his usual flawless performance, making a good novel even easier to enjoy. ( )
  MikeFinnFiction | Oct 9, 2020 |
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. ( )
  ObsidianBlue | Jul 1, 2020 |
How did I miss Superintendent Battle all these years? What a great character. ( )
  mirihawk | May 21, 2020 |
Having read that [Towards Zero] was one of Agatha Christie's favorites of her many novels, I read it. Superintendent Battle is the crime-solver (no, not Poirot or Marple) and the crime is the murder of a dowager at a queer sort of family get-together at her home. Brought together are a very good, though not top tier, tennis pro; his girly-girl fiance; the former wife he dumped; a cousin with whom he was raised, just back from a plantation in the East Indies; the dowager's long-time assistant; a servant or two. The story presents a crime meticulously planned by a murderer with a long-held grudge. And the psycho very nearly gets away with it.
  weird_O | May 17, 2020 |
In which Superintendent Battle comes across a familial murder.

Superintendent Battle makes his final appearance in Christie’s canon in this nifty little novel, published toward the end of WWII. I’ve always liked Battle, who – like Japp before him – is a thoughtful investigator whose books fit him like a glove. His previous books – "The Secret of Chimneys", "The Seven Dials Mystery" and "Murder is Easy" – are all rather light affairs, but Battle is nonetheless an admirable part of the canon, and a good way of her writing a standard detective story that could still utilise a recurring character. "Towards Zero" is Battle’s best solo outing (although he’s lucky enough to join Poirot, Colonel Race and Ariadne Oliver in "Cards on the Table"), and it’s a splendid novel. Backstabbing households were always a strong point in Dame Agatha’s repertoire and the inter-relationships here are particularly well-drawn. Just genuinely a good book. ( )
  therebelprince | Apr 27, 2020 |
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Författarens namnRollTyp av författareVerk?Status
Christie, Agathaprimär författarealla utgåvorbekräftat
Asbach, MetteÖversättaremedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
Fraser, HughBerättaremedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
Laine, Anna-LiisaÖversättaremedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
Tuggle, MicheleOmslagsformgivaremedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
Volpatti, LiaÖversättaremedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
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The group round the fireplace was nearly all composed of lawyers or those who had an interest in the law.
The man in the hospital bed shifted his body slightly and stifled a groan.
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aka Come and Be Hanged
L'Heure zéro = Towards Zero
ISBN 2744110299 is for Un cadavre dans la bibliothèque / À l'hôtel Bertram, Translation of The Body in the Library AND At Bertram's Hotel
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Wikipedia på engelska (1)

An elderly widow is murdered at a clifftop seaside house... 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. It's all part of a carefully paid plan - for murder...

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