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In Towards Zero, the last Superintendent Battle novel, Thomas Royde is the brother of Adrian and one of Audrey Strange's cousins. He is a man of few words and on vacation from his work as a planter in the Malay states.

One of the plot devices in the story is that every one of the main characters (and potential suspects in the murder) had some physical peculiarity or other. This is to tie in with a story told by Mr Treves about a child murderer from long ago whom he claimed to still be able to identify from this feature. In the case of Thomas, it is a hardly usable right arm. This is the result of an injury sustained after being jammed in a door during an earthquake.


Agatha Christie's Marple[]

In the 2007 ITV adaptation of the story, Thomas Royde is portrayed by Julian Sands. His role is fairly similar to that in the original novel. He also came back to England hoping to win over Audrey. Thomas is not as taciturn here as in the original novel. Indeed, Lady Tressilian was not looking forward to Thomas boring them with endless tales about Malaya. In this adaptation, Angus MacWhirter is not featured so Thomas is the one who saves Audrey from jumping down the cliff. There are some indications of a developing relationship between Thomas and Mary Aldin but in the end, he does pair off with Audrey, much as Miss Marple anticipated.