Rennie Airth was born in South Africa and worked for a number of years as a foreign correspondent for Reuters. He is best known for his John Madden novels, the idea for which came to the author when he found, among some family papers, mementoes of an uncle who was killed in the First World War. He lives in Italy.
The Second World War has ended, leaving a bruised and fragile peace. But this tranquillity is threatened when a shocking murder takes place in the Sussex countryside. Before long, police experts discover a link to another, earlier, killing hundreds of miles away . . .
While Scotland Yard detective Billy Styles struggles to find a link between these two murders, a strange twist of fate brings former Detective Inspector John Madden into the investigations.
As the victim count rises it becomes clear that to catch this serial killer Madden, Styles and young policewoman Detective-Constable Lily Poole must act quickly. But Madden remains haunted by the mysteries at the heart of the case. Why was his name in a letter the second target had been penning, just before he died? Could the real clue to these perplexing murders lie within the victims' pasts? And within his own?
With this stunning, atmospheric crime novel teeming with twists and moving between the 1940s, the First and Second World Wars, Rennie Airth, the author of River of Darkness, The Blood-Dimmed Tide and The Dead of Winter presents his greatest and most compelling novel yet.
THE DEAD OF WINTER
During a blackout on the streets of London on a freezing evening in late 1944, a young Polish land girl, Rosa Nowak, is suddenly and brutally killed. For the police, their resources already stretched by war regulations and the thriving black market, this is a shocking and seemingly random crime. No one can find any reason why someone would want to murder an innocent refugee.
For the former police inspector John Madden, the crime hits close to home. Rosa was working on his farm and he feels personally responsible for not protecting her. His old colleagues Angus Sinclair and Billy Styles are still at the Yard, but struggle to make sense of their few clues.
Their only lead points towards war-torn Europe - but as the fighting sweeps across the continent, will they find the killer before he strikes again?
'An excellent and convincing evocation of wartime London' C. J.Sansom
'A superlative detective novel . . . Airth's John Madden novels are must-reads' Daily Express
THE BLOOD -DIMMED TIDE
It is 1932 and John Madden, former Scotland Yard Inspector, is now a farmer in the peaceful Surrey countryside. However his peace is about to be shattered, for when a young girl goes missing, it is he who discovers her disfigured body hidden in a wood. Disturbed by what he has seen he is convinced the killer has struck before . . .
When a second body is found, Madden's instinct is proved right - there is a multiple killer at large. Allying himself with his old colleagues, and against the wishes of his anxious wife, he immerses himself in one more case, and his insights into the personality of the man they are seeking are soon borne out.
But he will have to stay one step ahead of a killer who is a master of reinvention, and who has been covering his tracks for many years. And soon significant links are discovered in Germany, where the Nazis are on the brink of power . . .
'Spine chilling . . . a terrific story' Guardian
'Highy enjoyable. Let us hope that John Madden happens upon another corpse before too long' Spectator
RIVER OF DARKNESS
It is 1921 and a terrible discovery has been made at a manor house in Surrey - the bloodied bodies of Colonel Fletcher, his wife and two of their staff. The victims have all been stabbed and the lack of disturbance in the house suggests that the attack was one of terrifying speed.
The Surrey police force seem ready to put the murders town to robbery with violence, but Detective Inspector Madden from Scotland Yard sees things slightly differently. For he has experienced the horrors of World War I and has seen madness at first hand. And he is certain this crime has been perpetrated by a psychopath who will strike again . . . and soon.
'One of the most gripping thrillers I have ever read' Country Life
'If only every golden age crime novel could be as good as this' Independent on Sunday