|About the Book|
This is the third in the original John Madden trilogy. The first book, “River of Darkness,” is set in 1921, when England is still very much in the shadow of WWI. The second in the trilogy, “The Blood Dimmed Tide,” takes us to 1932 and the time of the depression and the rise of the Nazi party. In “The Dead of Winter” we begin in 1940, with the fall of Paris to the Germans, with the murder of furrier Maurice Sobel. Sobel is Jewish and has managed to send his wife and children out of the country, but has stayed behind to tie up his business and convert as much of his assets as possible to diamonds, which he plans to smuggle out of the country. As he is planning to drive to Lisbon, he is asked to take along a young Polish officer and his young Jewish companion. Sobel welcomes the company, but is murdered before he gets a chance to leave and the diamonds stolen.The story then moves to 1944, with the murder of a young Polish land girl in London. Rosa Novak has been working on the farm owned by John and Helen Madden and, before long, John Madden has become embroiled in the investigation. Many of the familiar characters we know and love are in this book, although time, and war, have changed them. Chief Inspector Angus Sinclair has had to postpone his retirement and is troubled with gout. Detective Billy Styles has sent his wife and children to the country. We also have a new character, WPC Lily Poole, struggling with promotion as a woman, but keen and eager to rise through the ranks. The question is why anyone would want to murder young Rosa Novak- a quiet and reserved young girl, who was simply going to visit her aunt – her only living relative – in London? Before long, the murderer has killed again and the violence seems to have no end. Ruthless, he kills everyone who can identify him and the string of murders have their link to what happened so long ago in Paris.This is another excellent mystery in the Madden series. The author does a wonderful job of recreating wartime London- battered, bruised, weary, still being bombed and with a flourishing black market. The whole trilogy is a joy to read and I am thrilled to see that Rennie Airth has written a new addition to the series in, “The Reckoning.” Now that I have revisited the original trilogy, I look forward to reading the new novel with great anticipation.