Agatha Christie Wiki
Advertisement

Superintendent Battle is a fictional character created by Agatha Christie.

Battle is notable for his stolid good sense, and he relies in part on the appearance of being a stupid or unimaginative police officer as a means to investigating his cases. His moustache is impressive, even to Hercule Poirot.

In Cards on the Table, Battle is described as a "big, square, wooden-faced man". He conveys the impression that he is "carved out of wood", and also that the wood in question is "the timber out of a battleship".[1]

Until Towards Zero the reader knows nothing of his domestic arrangements, but in this novel we learn the name of his wife (Mary) and that he has five children, the youngest of whom (Sylvia) unwittingly provides a key clue to the mystery. The earliest mention of him being married is in The Seven Dials Mystery, when Eileen Brent says to him:

"Superintendent Battle, you are a wonderful man. I'm sorry you're married already. As it is, I shall have to put up with Bill."[2]

In the Hercule Poirot novel The Clocks, the pseudonymous secret agent Colin Lamb is heavily implied to be the son of the now-retired Battle.

Battle also has a secret professional life that is revealed in the denouement to The Seven Dials Mystery, but this is never referred to again. In this novel he states, that

"half the people who spent their lives avoiding being run over buses had much better be run over and put safely out of the way. They're no good."[3]

Similar statements are given by Major Despard in Cards on the Table and Michael Rogers in Endless Night and might be approved by Mrs. Christie as well.

Battle is in many respects typical of Christie's police officers, being (like Inspector Japp), more careful and intelligent than the police officers of early detective fiction, who had served only as foils for the brilliance of the amateur sleuth.

Appearances

Portrayals

References

  1. Chapter 2 of Cards on the Table
  2. Chapter 33 of The Seven Dials Mystery
  3. Chapter 10 of The Seven Dials Mystery
  4. Chapter 13 of Mrs McGinty's Dead
  5. Poirot to Colin Lamb: "But why do you call yourself by the name of Lamb?" and again: "I thought the good Superintendent was going to write his memoirs?", implying that his father was a police Superintendent with whom Poirot had worked.
Advertisement