Rennie Airth was born in South Africa and has worked as a foreign correspondent for Reuters. The first novel in his John Madden trilogy, River of Darkness, was published in 1999 to huge critical acclaim, was shortlisted for four crime fiction awards and won the Grand Prix de Litterature Policiere in France. The sensational sequel was The Blood-Dimmed Tide, and The Dead of Winter forms the final part of the trilogy.
Readers first met Inspector John Madden in River of Darkness, where he employed then unsanctioned psychological-profiling methods to identify a serial killer in post-World War I Britain. When Madden reappeared in Blood-Dimmed Tide, it was 1932; he had retired from active duty but was drawn into a local case involving a murdered child. Now, another 12 years have passed, and Polish immigrant Rosa Nowak is murdered during a London blackout. Madden's ties to the girl are quickly discovered, and his interest in finding her killer brings him out of retirement once more. As with the other series books, Airth's latest blends modern methods of crime detection with a superb cast of characters who inhabit a well-drawn world steeped in historical ambience and detail. Libraries that buy this title should also buy its predecessors; readers will want as much of Madden as they can get. Highly recommended.-Nancy McNicol, Hamden P.L., CT Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.
Set in London and rural England in 1944, Airth's fine third mystery to feature ex-Scotland Yard inspector John Madden (after The Blood-Dimmed Tide) shows how five years of war and an overstretched police force have brought "a new dimension to lawbreaking," with a serious rise in murders, thefts and extortion. Even decent citizens aren't above black-market dealings. The murder of Rosa Nowak, a young Polish woman, on a deserted London street during a blackout appears to be another act of random violence. Since Nowak worked on Madden's farm, his reputation ensures that his former colleagues thoroughly investigate the case, which leads to continental Europe, stolen diamonds and a string of murders, including that of a Jewish furrier. Airth takes a perceptive look at the frayed emotions of his fully realized characters as he carefully lays the groundwork for the next book in this rewarding series. (July) Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.