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Condition: Used: Good
Comment: Ex-library book. The item shows wear from consistent use, but it remains in good condition and works perfectly. All pages and cover are intact (including the dust cover, if applicable). Spine may show signs of wear. Pages may include limited notes and highlighting.
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The Dead of Winter Hardcover – July 23, 2009

4.0 out of 5 stars 62 customer reviews
Book 3 of 4 in the John Madden Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

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 © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


"Make room for John Madden in the pantheon of great, civilized English sleuths...It's safe to say that once you've read [The Dead of Winter], you will start longing for Madden's next case." - The New Yorker

"An energetic and entertaining thriller, with a denouement which rises to a frightening climax." - Times Literary Supplement

"Detective fiction of a very high order. ...The plot is chilling and even moving, the characters fleshed and deeply felt...I hope we have not seen the last of the unforgettable John Madden." - The Globe and Mail

"The comfortable, leisurely rhythm of Rennie Airth's writing and the affectionate way in which he conveys wartime Britain are very pleasurable...Very well done." - Spectator

"Who is Rennie Airth? Why, merely the best detective-fiction novelist you've never heard of. ... [The Dead of Winter is]....detective fiction of a very high order. The plot is chilling, and even moving, the characters fleshed and deeply felt, and Airth retains his remarkable ability to evoke time and place...As always, there's a deeply compassionate element to Airth's rendering of this world.....Very good indeed....I hope we have not seen the last of the unforgettable John Madden." - The Globe And Mail

"Airth has created a spellbinding series of mysteries set in the bygone England of our imagination. His detective, John Madden, is the sort of wise and reticent man you would trust with your life, and it is deeply satisfying to see him solve the complex puzzles that Airth sets for him. The Dead of Winter is the latest gripping installment in what's becoming my favorite series of British crime novels." - David Ignatius, columnist for the Washington Post and author of Body of Lies

"A superlative detective novel from a writer who creates complicated narratives populated by fully realised characters. He has an enviable ability to evoke rural landscape as well as teeming metropolitan life...John Madden novels are must-reads." - Daily Express

"Airth takes his sweet time between novels...but the wait is always worth it for his Detective Inspector John Madden." - National Post

"The unraveling of the mystery is solid entertainment, but it's really the historical framing that will quicken the reader's interest, not just details of daily life but also the repercussions of the war." - Cleaveland Plain-Dealer

""Airth’s atmosphere of London at war is superb." - The Times

"Airth’s atmospheric The Dead of Winter is set in London during the second world war…The novel recreates wartime London brilliantly, and Airth’s detectives have to cope with flying bombs and blacked-out streets as they struggle to find the killer." - Sunday Times Culture

"A gripping police procedural and a thrilling historical...The Dead of Winter delivers a perceptive view of how England’s urban and rural residents coped during the waning days of WWII...[Airth] has become an author worth the wait. Airth’s precise storytelling continues to excel." - Sun-Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, Florida)

"An excellent and convincing evocation of wartime London" - CJ Sansom, author of Winter in Madrid

"This book has the blissful whiff of nostalgia, of mahogany furniture in wallpapered rooms, of dependable policemen and respectful lower orders. Yet this is no idyllic evocation of the Golden Age of crime writing. This world is about to be, literally, blown away, for the action takes place in wartime London, where the old order is beginning to turn upside down.. . . The book has a strength not usually found in crime writing of the Golden Age, for it acknowledges that there is a wider world. Into this, the traditional English policeman is inevitably drawn. Madden’s comment on casual death, “the terrible power wielded by chance in human destiny”, remains with the reader after the plot has been neatly finished.” - The Independent

""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....Also buy its predecessors; readers will want as much of Madden as they can get. Highly recommended." - Library Journal

“The novel re-creates war-time London brilliantly." - Sunday Times

"In John Madden, Airth has created a sane, observant, and upright detective, whose chief strengths are his ability to question facts others take for granted. He is also gifted at finding people who can help him gather missing data. Madden, his wife, and those he works with are all likable, as well as capable. Once again, Airth has assembled a story well worth reading." - Sacramento News and Review

"The murders in [Airth's] books are brutal, the investigations absorbing…What engages ones and carries one along is the narrative, his observation of the natural world and his gift for striking imagery." - The Oldie

"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." - Publishers Weekly --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 409 pages
  • Publisher: Viking Adult; 1st edition (July 23, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0670020931
  • ISBN-13: 978-0670020935
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.4 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (62 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #753,304 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By S. McGee TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on July 23, 2009
Format: Hardcover
The only problem with Rennie Airth's work is that those readers like myself who have discovered his books have had to wait so long between each novel. But when the results are as good as this, that feels like a very minor quibble indeed, because John Madden, the detective that Airth has conjured up from thin air, is just as compelling a personality as P.D. James's Adam Dalgliesh.

Madden, a veteran of the First World War, solved his first mystery in Airth's excellent River of Darkness, set in the aftermath of that bloody conflict. Airth's second mystery featuring Madden -- now married and much more content as a gentleman farmer, although he can't resist using his skills to solve a series of horrible murders of young girls -- was set in the early 1930s, just as the first hints were taking shape of another global war. Now, in Airth's third novel, it is the winter of 1944. While it seems clear that Germany will be defeated, Londoners are exhausted by rocket attacks, rationing and the brutal winter weather. Rosa, a young Polish refugee, works on Madden's farm, has traveled to London to visit her only remaining relative. Emerging from a Tube station after the 'all-clear' signal, Rosa sets off for her destination through the blacked-out nighttime streets -- where she encounters a murderer.

But was Rosa's murder, first seen as horrible act of a madman, really a random crime? John Madden becomes increasingly less confident of this and the events that follow seem to bear out his instincts.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I am a total fan of Airth's first two books. Unlike the first two this one plods along to a reasonable story line. Its okay. Whats missing is the drive of a central character and the emotional pull his first two books had. This is a collage of characters, side stories, and atmosphere. This is not a driven story where you wonder whats going to happen to the central character. Yes, Madden is there but he's only summoned periodically for sagely advice. Helen his wife is around baking cookies. Yes, there's Sinclair but even he's in and out. There's a curious single paragraph in the first person which looks like it missed the editor's pen. The rest is characters telling each other stories. I believe if you read the first two books you will be mildly disappointed in this book. Definitely if you haven't don't start with this book. If you like Alan Furst -you will enjoy this book though its not as heavy handed on the historic detail. I would rate this book as mildly okay. Not Great.
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Format: Paperback
This is the third in a series from Rennie Airth featuring his ex-policeman and soldier, John Madden, The first of these, River of Darkness, won the Grand Prix de Littérature Policière for best international crime novel in 2000 and was nominated for Edgar, Anthony, and Macavity awards. Airth supposedly found inspiration for the book in a scrapbook about his uncle, a soldier killed in World War I. The second, The Blood-Dimmed Tide, was published in 2003. I have read all three and do suggest that you read them in sequence. They can be standalone but you will benefit from the timeline and character clarity if all three are read.

I have given four stars to each of them largely based on the nice balance of historical accuracy, solid plots, brisk pace, and characters who you take a real interest in. One critique is novels two and three seemed to follow a very similar pattern but that is a small complaint. In terms of The Dead of Winter, the backdrop of World War 2 provides a rich setting for a series of murders that draws in Madden, Sinclair, Bennet, and Styles again. It is a shame that Airth does not provide more insight into what drives the villain because that character is almost one-dimensional. However, you will cheer with every deductive step that is taken to get closer to uncovering the killer and tracking that person down.

I still think that Airth can expand the series even though it is meant to be a closed trilogy. If it does continue, I will be sure to follow the additional adventures of Madden et al.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
In three suspenseful crime novels set in England between the two wars, South African writer Rennie Airth tells the story of Scotland Yard detective John Madden and his wife, nee Dr. Helen Blackwell. John is a veteran of the Great War, unhinged by his experiences in the bloodbath in France and by the deaths of his wife and daughter. Helen comes into his life just in time to help nurse him back to health.

They meet in the first book, River of Darkness, set in the years following World War I, when John is assigned to an exceptionally brutal murder case in the countryside that taxes his skills and his already questionable emotional stability to the limit. Through an introduction from Helen, John enlists the help of a noted Viennese psychiatrist who assists him with an early version of what we now know as psychological profiling. The psychiatric insight eventually puts an end to a gruesome series of serial murders, leading John to the killer.

A decade later Germany is in the throes of a Nazi takeover, and England trembles. As we learn at the outset of The Blood-Dimmed Tide, the second book in Airth's trilogy, John Madden is peacefully retired with Helen on a farm far from Scotland Yard. When he chances upon a brutally murdered corpse on a walk through the countryside, his yearning for action comes to life once again. The officer in charge of the investigation, an old friend in a senior post on the force, takes advantage of John's eagerness to become involved again and seeks him out for advice. John circumvents his anxious wife's efforts to keep him out of the investigation and eventually plays a key role in solving the perplexing case.
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