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In the novel Towards Zero, Sylvia Battle is the youngest child of Superintendent Battle and his wife Mary. She is sixteen and attends Meadway, a school near Maidstone.

After a spate of thefts in the school, Sylvia yielded to psychological pressure by the principal Miss Amphrey and confessed to the crimes even though she had not committed them. Superintentendent Battle saw through this and knew his daughter was innocent. He took her away from the school and told the principal to call the police. They could expect to find the stolen items somewhere in the school and the fingerprints on them would soon reveal the thief because people who indulged in petty pilfering did not wear gloves.

This episode with Sylvia would later give Superintendent an insight into the murder of Lady Tresillian at Saltcreek.

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