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The Dead of Winter (John Madden Mysteries) (edition 2010)

by Rennie Airth

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245746,947 (3.72)14
Member:Marshrat
Title:The Dead of Winter (John Madden Mysteries)
Authors:Rennie Airth
Info:Penguin Books (2010), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 416 pages
Collections:Library Book
Rating:****
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The Dead of Winter by Rennie Airth

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This is the third John Madden historical mystery, set in England near the end of World War II. The first two books established a pattern that this book also follows. A murder victim is discovered and as the investigation goes on, the author shows other characters who will play into the resolution even if there's no obvious reason how or why. In the first book, we saw the killer's pov; in the next two, the killer's identity becomes known early on. This isn't a traditional mystery as much as a look at crime detection at the time, how the local police and Scotland Yard handled unusual criminals whose motives aren't clear. And as with the other books, it's the characters that make the story worth reading. I enjoyed it a lot, but not as much as the first two because of that pattern. Things fell into place as I was expecting and therefore, there weren't any surprises or real suspense this time, despite how well the book is written. And there is a wonderful woman cop who gets a chance to help out the detective squad at the Yard, and I'd love to see a book featuring her. ( )
  ShellyS | Jul 27, 2014 |
The Dead of Winter was a pick for my mystery book club, and it is the first book that I have read by Airth. Airth does a good job at creating World War II England providing the reader with the experience of this war torn country. During one of the blackouts, a young woman is murdered. Rosa's murder probably wouldn't receive much attention except for the fact that her employer is none other than former police investigator John Madden. Madden refuses to let the case go, and several other police officers become just as involved in solving this crime which ends up leading to an international criminal. Other than Madden, my favorite character was Lily, a young woman beginning her career as a detective. Airth does a good job with character development and the reader gets a real feel for all of the characters and their relationships to each other both personal and professional. The mystery was very good and kept the reader guessing. Overall this was a great read, and I would like to read Madden's other adventures. ( )
  Sable677 | Jun 28, 2012 |
This is the third book in Airth's John Madden series but the first one that I have read. I don't think that one needed to read the first two to understand the third - it seemed to stand on its own.

When I first started this book, I really enjoyed it. It seemed to be an interesting mystery. However, about half way through the book, the identity of the murderer had been determined, as well as why the murders took place. The only thing left for the second half of the book was to actually catch the murderer. To me, having this take the entire second half of the book was too long to keep my interest. ( )
  rretzler | Sep 3, 2011 |
THE DEAD OF WINTER is the third in the the John Madden series. The first novel, River of Darkness took place in England just after World War I.
DEAD OF WINTER is set in London in 1944 when a young Polish woman is garroted on a darkened city street. She is on her way to visit her aunt. Police begin investigating. John Madden, recently retired from the police force becomes involved because the young woman was living and working on his farm.
The young woman was universally liked and no one can figure out a motive for her death. She wasn’t robbed, she wasn’t sexually assaulted. The case becomes more complex when a prostitute who saw the girl tells the police she thought a man was following her. The prostitute is later found murdered in the same manner.
It‘s not often that I don’t finish a review book. I feel obligated to read the entire book in order to do justice to the review.
Sadly, I had to give up on THE DEAD OF WINTER. Not because it was a necessarily a poorly written book. I don’t think it is. I have read worse and finished them. So why did I give up at page 197 of a 408 page book? I ran headlong into one of my pet peeves. This particular peeve is when the author pauses the plot to give the back story of a character. It’s all very fine and dandy for a couple of major characters but when the reader is being told the history of minor characters it becomes a major distraction. That’s what happened in this case. Do we really need to know the history of the relationship between the main character and the local village bobby, who up until i stopped reading the book had a very minor role. If this had been a movie it would have been with half a dozen lines.
When that was all I was noticing I decided to call it quits. This may be unfair to the author, but everyone has their quirks and Rennie Airth ran into one of mine.
For a less biased perspective perhaps read Michael Ripley's review on Eurocrime (http://www.eurocrime.co.uk/reviews/The_Dead_of_Winter.html) or Nick Hay’s review on Reviewing the Evidence http://www.reviewingtheevidence.com/review.html?id=8155 ( )
  sunniefromoz | Oct 5, 2009 |
On reflection this is a troubled book that isn't quite as good as it should be. The core problem is the question as to whether the criminal is really believable? Layers of complexity are piled on, yet strangely it's unsatisfying, and slowly, steadily elements of credibility are easily unpicked in the readers' mind, ultimately leaving you somewhat flat. This means you're relying a lot on Airth's ability to portray the distant world of 1940s England, and here there's not quite enough.

For full review please see: http://bit.ly/3NQ1gW ( )
  isynge | Sep 21, 2009 |
Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
"The Dead of Winter" is a first-rate story. Let's hope that this John Madden stays in the game.
 
[W]ell worth reading, and rereading, whenever we’re engaged in war.
 
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Dusk was falling by the time Maurice Sobel reached Neuilly, and he walked the short distance from the Metro to his house in the cold, not quite earthly light of the blue-painted street lamps which were the city's sole concession to the war that was about to engulf it.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0143117246, Paperback)

"[Rennie Airth's] meticulously detailed procedural mysteries are beautifully written . . . well worth reading, and rereading."
-Marilyn Stasio, The New York Times Book Review


On a freezing London night in 1944, Rosa Novak is brutally murdered during a blackout. Scotland Yard suspects the young Polish refugee was the victim of a random act of violence and might have dropped the case if former police investigator John Madden hadn't been her employer. Madden feels he owes it to Rosa to find her killer and pushes the investigation, uncovering her connection to a murdered Parisian furrier, a member of the Resistance, and a stolen cache of diamonds.

Delivering the atmospheric writing and compelling characters that have already established Rennie Airth as a master of suspense as well as style, this long-awaited third installment in the John Madden series is historical crime writing at its best.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:25:19 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

The murder of a young Polish girl in wartime London puts John Madden on the trail of a ruthless hired killer.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 4 descriptions

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