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'Towards Zero' and 'Ordeal by Innocence'

Narrated by: Hugh Fraser
Length: 13 hrs and 20 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (498 ratings)

Regular price: $34.22

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Publisher's Summary

Two of Agatha Christies’ favorite novels now brought together in audio, just for you.

Towards Zero: What is the connection among 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 house party gathers at Gull’s Point, the seaside home of an elderly widow, earlier events come to a dramatic head. As Superintendent Battle discovers, it is all part of a carefully laid plan - for murder.

Ordeal By Innocence: According to the courts, Jacko Argyle bludgeoned his mother to death with a poker. The sentence was life imprisonment. But when Dr. Arthur Calgary arrives with the proof that confirms Jacko’s innocence, it is too late - Jacko died behind bars following a bout of pneumonia. Worse still, the doctor’s revelations reopen old wounds in the family, increasing the likelihood that the real murderer will strike again.

Be sure to catch the rest of the queen of mystery’s stories!

©1958 Agatha Christie Ltd. (P)2004 HarperCollins Publishers

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Two outstanding mysteries

These are not only two "murder mysteries", I would characterize them as "literature". The story lines are vintage Agatha Christie, intricate and baffling. But more than that, the books are literate and carry consistent and thoughtful themes throughout. Aside from their entertainment value. these books would be perfect textbooks for a class in how to write.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • Kathy
  • Spokane, WA, United States
  • 02-06-13

Towards Zero - terrific!

A story that really pulls you in, even though it doesn't feature Poirot (although he is mentioned once) or Miss Marple. The characters spring to life in turn as the book progresses for an engrossing, entertaining mystery. The telling of the story is one of her best.It's almost like you're there! It makes you realize what a talent Agatha Christie really was.
Sometimes I look at my audio library and think I should branch out a little in my listening habits, but I find her books so relaxing and yet they make you think long after your listening session is over!
I highly recommend this - it is the first of two books, the other being "Ordeal by Innocence".
That one I haven't liked much so far - the modern setting and storyline are not quite what I like -in fact it strays quite a bit from her usual style - but we'll see as I listen further to the second book.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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both enjoyable "reads"

These are two Agatha Christie novels I hadn't ever heard of, but I enjoyed them both and, as always, Hugh Fraser's narration is terrific. I can always count on Christie and Fraser to deliver enjoyable adventures with good characters for a really good listening experience.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Another enjoyable listen

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

If you don't mind it not being one of Agatha Christie's primary sleuths, then this is a good book. It features a secondary character, Superintendant Battle.

What other book might you compare 'Towards Zero' and 'Ordeal by Innocence' to and why?

Secret of Chimneys

Have you listened to any of Hugh Fraser’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

I have many of Hugh Fraser's readings and they are always wonderful.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

No, but I was always glad to come back to it.

Any additional comments?

A very satisfying mystery and I recommend the Battle series of books.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Excellent!

One of Christie's best I think. Lots of characters so it's a real whodunit. Hugh Fraser is a wonderful narrator.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • TH
  • 02-21-16

Agatha Christie--the best female mystery writer

Always a page turner. Always multilple possible murderers. Always a clever story line. Dame Agatha Christie was a clever woman. in reading her tales, I grow more curious about the woman behind those tales.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • AS
  • 01-27-13

Two Good Agatha Christies

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes. Towards Zero is one of my favorites, and Ordeal By Innocence is interesting also.

What does Hugh Fraser bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

I think it shows that Hugh Fraser is familiar with the material and does it justice.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Mixed bag: first good, second awful

I enjoyed "Towards Zero," as it is everything for which Christie is properly applauded. Excellent plot, sparkling dialogue, elementary but serviceable creation of characters. A who-done-it to enjoy for the ages. "Ordeal by Innocence", on the other hand, is full of Christie poppycock. We are awash in her outdated and questionable social views. Remember, for her, diversity meant the French. Her most famous detective is not English, which provokes much running commentary, from the bigoted to the tolerant. For her time, she was progressive about women. She applauded the brave, brainy and virginal white women who are among her stables. (The non-virginal can also pass muster, as long as they're married.)

About Jews and people of color, she was lamentable, but they don't come up that often, so, time and place as givens, she mostly gets a pass. The Irish come in for their usual drubbing. Drunk and emotional. These failings are shared by most of the writers of the so-called golden age of British detective fiction. (Imperialists, all.) So, brace yourself and disregard when possible.

Here, however, she's into genetics. Don't listen to this if you are adopted or, worse still, if you adopted your child. It's what's in the blood that counts in this story. Parents of adopted children are not really parents and can't change the blood destiny of their pseudo-offspring. Seriously, her characters keep saying such parents aren't really parents at all. Most of this book is ruminations on the blood-destiny theme. I haven't finished it. I don't think I can bear to. Hugh Fraser turns in his usual great performance.

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Not enough action

Great narration as always by Hugh Fraser however well read, the story would stagnate with too much “talk” from the characters. This one will not be one I would recommend.

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Excellent character voicing

2 Classic Agatha Christie book, without the traditional detectives. The story is somewhat haunting.
Hugh Frazier does an excellent job voicing the numerous characters. I usually prefer full cast audio books, but this one is so well voiced as is. He even voices the women’s parts well. It’s a pleasant and immersive experience.

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  • Leon van Schoonneveldt
  • 10-28-18

Top-notch Christie

Two stand-alone titles from Christie's middle period, and two of her best novels. You know what to expect: cardboard characters and fiendishly clever plotting (note the highly effective use of the characters' physical attributes as clues in 'Towards Zero'). All in all: two all-round jolly good puzzles for the price of one.