The Blood-Dimmed Tide (John Madden Series #2)

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Overview

"In The Blood-Dimmed Tide, Rennie Airth brings back his beloved main character, Inspector John Madden, in a new tale of murder. Filled with historical detail, this novel is not only a mystery; it is also a haunting portrait of the social struggles in post-World War I England and the unrest throughout Europe as Hitler begins his rise to power." It is 1932, and former Inspector John Madden has retired from Scotland Yard. He leads a quiet life in rural England with his wife and children - until their idyll is shattered when Madden comes across the
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The Blood-Dimmed Tide (John Madden Series #2)

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Overview

"In The Blood-Dimmed Tide, Rennie Airth brings back his beloved main character, Inspector John Madden, in a new tale of murder. Filled with historical detail, this novel is not only a mystery; it is also a haunting portrait of the social struggles in post-World War I England and the unrest throughout Europe as Hitler begins his rise to power." It is 1932, and former Inspector John Madden has retired from Scotland Yard. He leads a quiet life in rural England with his wife and children - until their idyll is shattered when Madden comes across the body of a young village girl, savagely murdered, in the woods near his home. The crime catapults Madden back into the role of detective, despite his wife Helen's misgivings, as he realizes that this horrific crime may have implications that reach far beyond the English countryside. Along with his former colleagues, Madden soon finds himself enlisting the help of the British Secret Service and the German police. Together they use the burgeoning science of criminal psychology in order to enter the twisted mind of a cunning, sophisticated murderer - but can Madden find him in time to prevent him from killing again?
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Editorial Reviews

Patrick Anderson
Shrewd, taciturn, haunted by the past, torn between love of family and dedication to that ordered society, Madden is a fine character, as is his loving and strong-willed wife, and there are others, too, in Airth's top-to-bottom portrait of society &#8230,; With one terrible, still vivid war just behind and another looming ahead, Airth's narrative reminds us that individuals still matter.
— The Washington Post
Marliyn Stasio
… there's more to Airth's agenda than turning out a sensational thriller about a mad-dog killer. With his painterly landscapes of the unspoiled countryside and delicate portraits of young girls on the victim list, he composes images of innocence that capture all that is at stake and will soon be lost in ''the dark night that was coming'' -- heralded by a messenger bringing news of the horrors ahead.
— The New York Times
Publishers Weekly
The many admirers of Airth's impressive debut, River of Darkness (1999), which was an Edgar finalist, will relish his gripping second police procedural, set in 1932. The brilliant Scotland Yard inspector John Madden has retired to the countryside and built himself a new life and a new family, but his tranquil, pedestrian existence is shattered when he stumbles on the battered corpse of a young girl. Despite himself and the importunings of his wife, Helen, Madden is drawn into the police inquiry and quickly challenges the official theory that a passing vagrant is responsible. Evidence soon surfaces that the killing is one of a series that spans several countries, and the trail gets murkier when a major suspect proves to be linked to international espionage. The political ramifications of the murders, which may complicate British-German relations on the eve of the Nazis' rise to power, only add to the challenges the police face in preventing another death. While the plot structure may be a little too similar to its predecessor for some, Airth's full-blooded characters and convincing evocation of rural 1930s England will have most eager for a shorter wait for his next book. Agent, Joy Harris. (July) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
In a second outing, Inspector John Madden (River of Darkness, 1999) chases a sexual predator of children in England as the winds of war begin to blow from Nazi Germany. Cool-headed and evenhanded Madden is settling into retirement in 1932 and not looking for any more action, but he and his physician wife, Helen, literally drive past a crime scene near their corner of rural England. A young girl has gone missing, and a search is being organized to find her; the old inspector can't refuse his help. Soon enough, Madden finds the girl's body, raped and horridly disfigured. After that, much to his wife's resigned chagrin, he's destined to follow the investigation to its conclusion, retirement be damned. The first lead quickly comes to naught, but new avenues open up suggesting that there have been other victims in other parts of the country, and as far afield as Germany. Once the international angle kicks in, complete with hints of espionage in Hitler-shadowed Germany, the rough-hewn blocks of story start to snap together with impressive grace. In the beginning, the majority of Airth's stiff-upper-lipped characters give away little, nor do they have much individuality to help readers tell them apart. After the sloggy opening chapters, though, when the true nature of the author's intentions come to light, the story builds up a strong head of steam that exerts an inexorable pull. A curiously rare sense of common decency helps make this more than just another mystery with a conveniently dramatic historical setting. Extremely well-wrought, remarkable for its uncommon understanding that its characters are in the end just human, for better and worse.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780670899968
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 7/21/2005
  • Series: John Madden Series , #2
  • Pages: 352
  • Product dimensions: 6.32 (w) x 9.22 (h) x 1.06 (d)

Meet the Author

Rennie Airth was born in South Africa and worked as a foreign correspondent for Reuters before becoming a novelist. He is the author of two other John Madden mysteries, River of Darkness, a finalist for the Edgar Award for Best Novel and a Macavity Award for Best Mystery, and a New York Times Notable Book, and The Blood-Dimmed Tide. He lives in Cortona, Italy.

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Table of Contents

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 12 )
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Sort by: Showing 1 – 15 of 12 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 9, 2006

    Tramping toward exoneration

    Here is the greatest imaginable evil to plop into the author's pastoral paradise: what kind of monster would rape and murder prepubescent girls then smash their faces to a pulp? (This will be hard to top for for sheer depravity if Airth continues his Inspector Madden adventures.) The first half this volume consists largely of reintroducing all the sugery nice good guys and gals of the first book with a sparse sprinkling of new characters -- kids, tramps and a German policeman. The children are all adorable (and presumably above average) and the vagrants all moral paragons who are down on their luck. Near this story's midpoint, however, things pick up. We learn not only who the murderer is and why he will be tough to catch but also who his endearing next victim might be. The remaining pages are a gripping race to see whether the coppers can find him before he strikes again, which makes for a more exciting book that the acclaimed River of Darkness. Airth's villains continue to be more interesting than his protagonists because the former have some psychological depth whereas the latter are little more than cardboard cutouts of domestic saints.

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