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It was a clever idea--It was. You'd never have guessed. Never! Nor if it hadn't been for this interfering jackanapes, this pompous Scotch fool. I'd thought out every detail--every detail! I can't help what went wrong. How was I to know Royde knew the truth about Audery and Adrian? Audery and Adrian... Curse Audery--she shall hang--you've got to hang her--I want her to die afraid--to die--to die... I hate her. I tell you I want her to die... [...] I want her to be hanged. I do want her to be hanged...
~ Nevile's Villainous Breakdown, revealing his unhinged true nature

Nevile Strange (whose real name is unknown) is the main antagonist of Agatha Christie's 1944 novel, Towards Zero, which is the last novel featuring Superintendent Battle and the only novel with him as the sole main protagonist. He is a sociopathic killer underneath a civilized man's disguise, attempting to kill whoever that wronged him.

Nervile also appeared as a culprit in the third season of ITV's Agatha Christie's Marple, where the novel was adapted into one of its episode, with Miss Jane Marple as the protagonist instead.

He was portrayed by Greg Wise in Agatha Christie's Marple, and voiced by Hugh Bonneville in Joy Wilkinson's 2010 radio play adaptation of the book.

Biography

According to Mr. Arthur Treves, a lawyer, during his meeting with other characters, that there was a mentally abnormal child killed another child with an arrow, which was ruled an accident. The child was given a new name and a fresh start, despite a local man having seen the child practising assiduously with a bow and arrow. Mr. Treves remembeeds the case and the fact that the child as a result of a distinctive physical feature which he does not reveal (later revealed to be Nevile's distinctive little fingers with difference to each other).

The boy was later revealed to be Nevile Strange, who later became a successful tennis player and athlete, and married a woman named Audrey. After their marriage, Audrey soon grew terrified of her husband and decided to divorce him. Nevile later married another woman named Kay, but he remained resentful to Audrey and decided to take her down for revenge. After her divorce, Audrey was supposed to be married to Adrian Royde, the brother her cousin Thomas Royde, until he died of a car accident. It was revealed that Nevile murdered Adrian by running him over with his motorcar.

After the talk with Mr. Treves, Nevile decided to killed the lawyer before he could identify him. To kill his first victim, Nevile hung a sign of "Out of Order" on the door of the lift, faking its impaired state, and forced Mr. Treves to climb upstairs. Because of his age and bad health, Mr. Treves soon died of heart attack while climbing the stairway.

Later that night, Lady Tressilian was troubled by Mr. Treves' death and quarelled with Nevile with the problems over Kay and Audrey. Nevile left and swung the ring to call the maid, faking his alibi and killed Lady Tressilian vengefully with a modified tennis racket, faking the murder weapon as his own golf club, so that he would be suspected at first and considered innocent once the murder was over. He later staged the murders all the way to make everyone suspected that Audrey was responsible.

Later, when Audrey was arrested, Battle suspected that Audrey was framed since her attitude reminded him of his daughter, who was pressured into confessing a stealing she did not commit just a couple of days ago. As a result, he believed that Audrey had the same situation and decided to help her. With the help of Angus MacWhirter, who witnessed someone swimming from the shore and climbed into the house through the roof, Battle soon discovered that Nevile, who was the only suspect that was a skilled swimmer, was truly responsible for the case. Every plan he had staged was all the way towards zero - the junction when Audrey was trialed and hanged for Lady Tresilian's murder.

Eventuallu, Nevile broke down mentally and confessed everything in front of the astonished guests. Battle also recognized Nevile as the same murderous child whom Mr. Treves, and he arrested him for the murder of Lady Tressilian. While there were implication that Nevile killed Mr. Treves and Adrian Royde, there were no sufficient evidence to support them. Still, Audrey's name was cleared and she was released, while Nevile was put on court, now a mentally broken man whom Battle mused that he might not even withstand the trial.

Convinced by Battle's words and decided to move on from Nevile, Audrey now enetered a new rpmantic relationship with Angus MacWhirter, whom she met a year ago by saving him a suicidal attempt, above the very same cliff where MacWhirter witnessed Nevile swimming back to the crime scene.

Victims

Body Count: 4+

  • Another child
  • Adrian Royde (implied)
  • Mr. Treves
  • Lady Tressilian
  • Audrey Strange (attempted; saved by Battle)

Gallery

Trivia

  • It is implied that the name "Nevile Strange" is actually an alias. Mr. Treves had revealed that the child murderer, later revealed to be Nevile in his pre-teen, had changed his name and had a new life.
  • He is considered as one of the most evil murderers from Agatha Christie's novels.

Navigation

     
Agatha Christie's signature.png Villains
(Non-Poirot & Non-Marple)

Tommy and Tuppence Beresford
Conspiracy (Mr. Brown, Mr. Brown's decoy & Mr. Whittington) | Elise | Sir Phillip Stark | Mrs. Lancaster | Miss Bligh | N & M

And Then There Were None
Anthony James Marston | Mrs. Ethel Rogers | General John Gordon Macarthur | Mr. Thomas Rogers | Emily Caroline Brent | Justice Lawrence John Wargrave | Dr. Edward George Armstrong | William Henry Blore | Philip Lombard | Vera Elizabeth Claythorne | Isaac Morris

Other Mystery Stories
The Man in the Brown Suit (1924): Sir Eustace Pedler
The Sittaford Mystery (1931): Major Burnaby
Why Didn't They Ask Evans? (1934): Roger Bassington-ffrench | Moira Nicholson
Death Comes as the End (1944): Yahmose | Nofret | Satipy | Sobek | Ipy | Henet
Towards Zero (1944): Nevile Strange
Sparkling Cyanide (1945): Ruth Lessing
Crooked House (1949): Josephine Leonides
Destination Unknown (1954): Thomas Betterton
Ordeal by Innocence (1958): Jacko Argyle | Kirsten Lindholm | Rachel Argyle
The Pale Horse (1961): Zachariah Osborne
Endless Night (1967): Michael Rogers | Greta Andersen

Adaptational, Homage & Non-Canonical
Bellamy Gould | Leo Argyll | Ransom Drysdale

            
MarpleLogo.PNG Villains

Murderers
Anne Protheroe | Charlotte Blacklock | Dr. James Kennedy | Elvira Blake | Lance Fortescue | Josie Turner | Lucky Dyson | Mark Gaskell | Tim Kendall

Villainous Victims
Colonel Protheroe | Ella Zielinsky | Giuseppe | Heather Badcock | Lucky Dyson | Rex Fortescue | Victoria

Others
Jane Helier | Lady Sedgwick

ITV Series Exclusive
Original Characters & Adaptational Culprits
Brigit Milford | Tilly Rice
Originated from non-Marple stories
Adelaide Jefferson | Charles Burnaby | Helen Kennedy Halliday | Greta Andersen | Jacko Argyle | Kirsten Lindholm | Rachel Argyle | Michael Rogers | Miss Bligh | Moira Nicholson | Mrs. Lancaster | Nevile Strange | Paul Osborne | Roger Bassington-ffrench | Sir Phillip Starke

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