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The Dead of Winter Hardcover – July 23, 2009
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
"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.
Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I love the John Madden series. In this one we've skipped ahead about 20 years since the last one. World War II is winding down. It's November 1944 when the book opens. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Shirley Schwartz
All Airnth's four Madden books are winners. He develops the characters well and the readers grows to care about them. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Cheryl Brunton
I liked this book for the most part. I enjoyed the characters and the grim atmosphere of life in England during WWII. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Mystic by the Lake
Another great read. Love the characters and the history. Well worth the time to readPublished 6 months ago by Avid Reader
Gripping, even if not quite a match for Airth's first John Madden novel. The bloody crime is nicely contrasted by the camaraderie among the members of Scotland Yard. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Gail F. Whittemore
Dennie Airth always keeps you guessing. I like his easy style of writing and his characters. Also, the time period.Published 12 months ago by Karlene Callahan