RENNIE AIRTH SERIES:

The Decent Inn of Death

The Decent Inn of Death

Rennie Airth

Literature & Fiction / Mystery & Thrillers

"[Airth's] meticulously detailed procedural mysteries are beautifully written . . . well worth reading, and rereading." —Marilyn Stasio, The New York TimesSnowed in at a country manor, former Scotland Yard inspectors John Madden and Angus Sinclair find themselves trapped in the company of a murderer.On a trip into Winchester, former chief inspector Angus Sinclair learns of a tragedy that has taken place in the village he is staying in. Beloved church organist Greta Hartmann has slipped and fallen to her death in a shallow creek, and while investigations conclude it to be an accident, her friend and housemate, Vera, remains unconvinced. After learning that Greta was the widow of a prominent anti-Nazi German preacher, Sinclair meets with the distraught Vera, and he resolves to dig deeper into the story. His investigations lead him to the stately manor of Julia Lesage, where she lives with her devoted staff that includes her secretary, cook, and driver....
Read online
  • 634
Cold Kill

Cold Kill

Rennie Airth

Literature & Fiction / Mystery & Thrillers

An American actress arrives in London to find herself the target of a ruthless assassin in this compelling standalone thriller. Actress Adelaide Banks is swapping her native New York for London to spend Christmas with her widowed Aunt Rose. Rose wrote in her note that she was off to Paris for a few days and would be back in time for Addy's arrival. But when Addy reaches Rose's Knightsbridge address, no one's home, and she has two unexpected callers . . . Where is Rose, and what has she got herself entangled in? Dragged into a deadly game of cat-and-mouse on the snowy streets of London, Addy finds herself navigating a dark underworld of ruthless assassins, rogue agents and international crime. Can she survive long enough to uncover the truth?
Read online
  • 252

The Reckoning

The Reckoning

Rennie Airth

Literature & Fiction / Mystery & Thrillers

Inspector John Madden - who debuted in River of Darkness - returns in a gripping post-WWII murder mysteryOn a quiet afternoon in 1947, retired bank manager Oswald Gibson is shot in the head while fishing. In Scotland, a respectable family doctor is killed in the same manner - and with the same gun. What is the connection? Scotland Yard's Detective Inspector Billy Styles and local detective Vic Chivers are baffled until a letter fromGibson is discovered that might shed some light on the case - a letter concerning former Scotland Yard detective John Madden. Despite Madden's legendary memory, he has no recollection of meeting Gibson or any idea of what their relationship might have been. Madden is happily retired from police work, but agrees to help his former protégé, Styles, and the clues they uncover only deepen the mystery. When a third man is killed in a similar murder, Madden and Styles find themselves in a race againsttime to find the killer before another man ends up dead.A smart, intricately plotted mystery, this is the fourth title in the critically acclaimed and much loved John Madden series.
Read online
  • 63
The Blood-Dimmed Tide

The Blood-Dimmed Tide

Rennie Airth

Literature & Fiction / Mystery & Thrillers

Rennie Airth's first John Madden historical thriller, River of Darkness, found a place on more than a few "best of the year" lists in 1999--with good reason. Set in post-World War I England, it was serial-killer fiction of an unusually exalted order, with Madden, then a taciturn and wearily pragmatic veteran-turned-Scotland Yard inspector, investigating the eerie slaughter of a well-respected family in Surrey. Fortunately, Airth's first sequel was worth the six-year wait. The Blood-Dimmed Tide (which takes its title from a W.B. Yeats poem) finds Madden now retired and living peacefully on a farm in Surrey with his doctor wife, the former Helen Blackwell, and their two children, 10-year-old Rob and 6-year-old Lucy. The year is 1932, and the precipitous rise of the Nazis in Germany leaves many of their fellow countrymen, as well as no few Brits, worried for the future peace and stability of the European continent. More immediately concerning for Madden, however, is his discovery of the corpse of pubescent Alice Bridger--raped, disfigured, and secreted near a tramps' backwoods campsite. Suspicion falls quickly on a vagrant known as Beezy, who was supposedly visiting the area, but Madden--with his remarkable insight into crime ("Madden's always had a way of seeing things clearly, of seeing through them, or rather beyond them," relates a former police colleague)--thinks this is more than an isolated homicide. Sure enough, a records check turns up similar slayings elsewhere in England, dating back to 1929, as well as an active investigation by German law enforcement into half a dozen dead girls in Bavaria and Prussia. What accounts for both the wide range of these mutilations, and the lengthy lag time between them? Could the police be looking for a psychopathic traveler, or worse, a rogue spy who's managed to maintain a respectable front at his international postings, while satisfying his malevolent appetites in his spare hours? And what is the "devil's mark" that this killer reportedly bears? Airth is a fastidious plotter, expert in trickling out twists that heighten story tension but don't leave readers awash in red herrings. Although Madden's role here is somewhat less than it was in River of Darkness--a consequence of his strong-willed wife trying to protect him from further hurt, after the horrendous events of that previous tale--the author compensates by giving us a supporting cast of amply dimensioned Yard types, led by Chief Inspector Angus Sinclair, a perceptive Scot whose doggedness pairs well with Madden's gift for inspiration. While Airth fails, oddly, to exploit a couple of opportunities for interesting plot turns at book's end, his psychological portrait of the murderer imbues Tide with a fine pathos, and the backdrop of Nazi power-grabbing sets the stage for what is supposed to be a third and final Madden yarn. Let's hope that novel appears in more expeditious fashion. --J. Kingston Pierce
Read online
  • 56

JM01 - River of Darkness

JM01 - River of Darkness

Rennie Airth

Literature & Fiction / Mystery & Thrillers

Amazon.com ReviewThe main protagonist of River of Darkness is a Scotland Yard detective so damaged by his experiences during the First World War that his superiors worry about his ability to do his job. This may sound like Madden is sent to a town in Surrey where a local family has been massacred in what looks like a robbery gone wrong. He finds enough echoes of his recent battlefield experiences to conclude that the killer was just one man--most likely a former soldier using a bayonet. As for motive, it could well be perverse sexual passion, that "river of darkness" to which a psychologist introduces him. We meet the killer early on, watch him as he maintains a rigid control over every aspect of his life, then stare in horror as he periodically explodes into mad violence. Unlike Madden, this man has not been severely damaged or changed by the war; he has simply used it to channel and redirect his dark river. Airth's point--that survival comes in many shapes and sizes--gives a solid foundation to an impressive leap of imagination. --Dick AdlerFrom Library JournalSo you thought British detectives had to focus on "the colonel in the drawing room with a candlestick" solutions? Newcomer Airth blasts that stereotype with this tale of serial murder set in post-World War I Britain, featuring the debut of Inspector John Madden, a veteran whose experiences in the trenches give him an edge in tracking and capturing the killer. Meanwhile, Dr. Helen Blackwell entices Madden to employ psychiatric theories shunned at the time by Scotland Yard to explain and predict the killer's behavior. Airth develops a situation that presages today's much-touted psychological profiling and serves to build an almost excruciatingly suspenseful plot. In addition, his deft handling of the emotional aftereffects of war gives the work an added sense of purpose. Fans of Thomas Harris will enjoy this book and can take heart in knowing that another Madden tale is already in the works.ANancy McNicol, Hagaman Memorial Lib., East Haven, CT Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Read online
  • 8