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

3.96 of 5 stars 3.96  ·  rating details  ·  1,219 ratings  ·  144 reviews
Rennie Airth's first John Madden historical thriller, River of Darkness, found a place on more than a few "best of the year" lists in 1999--with good reason. Set in post-World War I England, it was serial-killer fiction of an unusually exalted order, with Madden, then a taciturn and wearily pragmatic veteran-turned-Scotland Yard inspector, investigating the eerie slaughter ...more
Hardcover, 340 pages
Published 2004 by Macmillan
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This is the second in the original John Madden trilogy: River of Darkness, The Blood-Dimmed Tide and The Dead of Winter. With a fourth book, The Reckoning, out soon, it seemed a good opportunity to re-visit the original novels, which I enjoyed when they were first released.

The Blood Dimmed Tide is set in 1932 and John Madden has since married Dr Helen Blackwell, who he met in the first book. Having left the police force, Madden is now a country gentleman – enjoying farming and fatherhood and hav
E.C. Ambrose
I so enjoyed the author's first novel, The Dead of Winter, that I jotted his name on a paper and stuck it to my bulletin board to keep an eye on him. This second John Madden mystery/thriller took so long to appear that I had stopped looking--but I pounced the moment I saw it, and will look forward to finding the third as well.

I said "mystery/thriller" above, but it's really a thriller. In a writers' workshop years ago, I heard the distinction made that, in the thriller, you know who the villain
In this second of Rennie Airth's books, almost ten years have passed and England is on the brink of World War II. The intriguing John Madden retired from Scotland Yard soon after the events of the first book to become not only a farmer but a father, having had two children with his wife, Dr. Helen Blackwell Madden. They live in the same house where she grew up (and where she was living in the first book) and, while the villagers are aware of Madden's previous profession, he has integrated comple ...more
Brian Steele
I've read quite a bit of mystery genre fiction lately. I'll be honest, most of it sucks in that cliched, pseudo-romance manner. After hearing Airth name mentioned a few times, I discovered his book in my store a gave it a try - I was captivated after only a few pages.

The style in which he draws the reader into 1932 England in amazing and realistic, a prose that's lean and biting. I love historical fiction, and seeing how these characters deal with a sexual sadist killer with such raw fear was br
A big letdown after River of Darkness. John Madden has resigned from Scotland Yard, and is a farmer living with his wife and two children. A young girl is brutally murdered nearby, and Madden becomes involved in the hunt for the killer. Mr. Airth has the difficult task of building his book around the hero, Madden, when he's not even in law enforcement any more. Too much of the early going involves the fencing and power struggle among the three major Scotland Yard figures handling the case. That ...more
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This was so annoying. The author was probably trying to write strong female characters but failed miserably. He endowed them with personalities that made them virtually indistinguishable, regardless of age, and could not mention them without also commenting on their physical appearance in some way. Obviously they were all plucky beautiful geniuses.

It was so patronizing, like "By jove, this female has got spunk but it is tolerable because she is also beautiful." I wouldn't notice this normally b
Good combination mystery-thriller-police procedural. The crimes are horrific, though - I have a hard time lately reading about children (or animals) who are the victims of crimes. Compelling, atmospheric and scary.
Tim Corke
A crime-thriller set in pre-WW2 Britain, The Blood Dimmed Tide provides an original take on a classic whodunnit. The timing of the novel in 1930s South England presents a prosperous Madden family in a rural setting with a doctor wife, and recently retired Scotland Yard detective husband, who are on their way to creating a better life for themselves and the less fortunate around their area.

When a young girl's body is found in this picturesque scene, Mr Madden cannot help but revert back to his po
This guy writes a mean mystery! Too bad there's not more of them. The interesting John Madden gets drawn into another case - young girls being brutally raped and murdered. Prewar Britain with the Nazi shadow hanging over Europe.
Cooper Renner
Truly a first-rate historical mystery, set in England just before the Nazi takeover of Germany (which has some bearing on the plot), and involving high-ranking members of society.
This is the 2nd book in the John Madden series. It's 12 years after Madden has retired from Scotland Yard. He's married, with two children, but his bucolic life is put into jeopardy when he discovers the raped and beaten body of a young girl. A serial killer who has left victims across Europe as well as England is on the loose, and Madden is asked to consult on the investigation. Although Madden's role is primarily that of a bystander, his judgments and ideas are closely listened to. I enjoyed t ...more
Great book set in the 1930's England. Tensions are high in Europe, and Airth does a great job in weaving these anxieties in throughout the book. The crime is a series of particularly grisly murders of pre-adolescent girls. John Madden and supporting characters return, and it feels very comfortable, very easy. I think the author is very comfortable and confident in his writing and characters. Editing, which I harp on a lot, is excellent here. The only drawback for me was when the focus shifts to ...more
Nancy Reynolds
Eleven years have passed since the setting of the first John Madden book. Although John Madden quit Scotland Yard to get married and become a farmer, he's inadvertently drawn in to a new matter. It's quite clever how the author keeps weaving John Madden into the story - very much against the wishes of his wife. It's really interesting to see how the clues come together, with some real luck and clever deducing. I really enjoyed this second book in the John Madden mysteries. You can bet I'll be ge ...more
I wanted to save this for when I needed a quietly literate mystery, but I didn't. Airth is able to crank up the intensity in a line or two because he prepares the ground so well with rounded characterizations, realistic motivations, and rich description of environments. While this second in his series didn't hit the high notes of the first, it is a solid second, and nothing to neglect for lack of effort. But the effort showed a little more, perhaps.

Set in the 1930's as the war inexorably approac
Kathleen Hagen
The Blood-dimmed Tide, by Rennie Airth, a-minus, Produced by Isis, purchased on Compact Discs from Isis.
This is the second in the John Madden series. John Madden suffered war injuries in WW I which left him with a flawed memory, attention deficits, and flashbacks. He was an inspector at Scotland Yard, but left this profession after his injury and retired to Surrey where he was farming. One night he and his wife were coming home in the rain, when they spied a group of people on the road. They wer
The mutilated body of a young girl is found hidden in a wood by ex-Scotland Yard Detective Inspector John Madden. Her face has been brutally battered and she has been raped. Whilst the local police are concentrated on searching for a tramp known to be in the area at the time, Madden is not convinced this is a one-off opportunistic killing.

THE BLOOD-DIMMED TIDE is the second book in a series based in the 1930's, incorporating now retired DI Madden and his wife, Helen. John Madden now works as a f
Christopher Hernandez
Nov 21, 2013 Christopher Hernandez rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Christopher by: Christina Callihan
The second book in the John Madden series had a very slow start for me. I started to lose interest, and set down the book for a time. I technically started reading this book in August, but lost interest for another book. I picked it up again during a flight, and realized that Madden's retirement and putting him out of the Yard limelight, contributed to my attention loss. It was his deep investigative character that drew me in. Well, that and the book's World War setting.

I kept on pushing through
Jill Hutchinson
Former Scotland Yard Inspector John Madden makes his second appearance in this tale of horrific child murders. It is now ten years since his retirement and Madden is living the life of a gentleman farmer with his beloved wife and two children and trying to put the past behind him. For the reader to appreciate the demons that haunt him I would recommend that one read "River of Darkness" which is the first of the series which fills in the blanks about what makes him tick.

Madden discovers one of th
Joyce Lagow
2nd in the John Madden series.

Madden has been gone from Scotland Yard for 12 years. Married happily to Helen and with two lively children, the family is settled in Surrey near Highland, where John farms.

This pastoral idyl is abruptly shattered by the savage death of a young local girl., whose body Madden helps discover. Haunted by the brutal murder, Madden, over Helen's furious objections, assists in the investigation, aided and abetted by his old friend and former Scotland Yard superior, Chief
Retired from Scotland Yard and living in the country, John Madden finds the body of a young girl brutally murdered along a stream. The murder of this young girl whose face has been obliterated haunts him. Soon he finds himself assisting his former detective coworkers in efforts to find who committed this atrocity. As the investigation unfolds, law enforcement officials discover that the murderer has moved from country to country. England is this latest environment in which he operates.

As the num
Shonna Froebel
This novel is part of the John Madden mystery series. I have read her earlier book River of Darkness. Madden has left Scotland Yard to live the life of a farmer, and his wife Helen guards him from police work as much as she can. The year is 1932, and coming home one day, John and Helen drive through a nearby village where they can see something is happening. They stop to see if they can be of assistance, and find the village is searching for a missing girl. John joins in the search and is the on ...more
Moumita Sarcar
at first the writing was pretty much in was incohrent...and made me read it twice or thrice to really know the whole statement... its weird... such long sentences wchich start with something.loop around and finish with something else.. also the multi plots are too scattered away to remember... and i have to revise it all again to really know who the person is.. tooo many people in the book are detectvies or cops.. and the same adjective used for all of them amkes me confused...
but wit
THE BLOOD-DIMMED TIDE (Police Procedural-England-1932) – VG
Rennie Airth – 2nd in series
McMillan, 2004- Hardcover
John Maddan has retired from Scotland Yard to be with his wife and children on their farm. But when a young girl disappears and John, with a former colleague still on the force, finds her body, his old instincts come to life. Once they start to investigate, an international trail of killings is uncovered.
*** It’s been four years since Airth's first book, but worth the wait. Although th
I liked Rennie Airth's second book in his Inspector Madden series very much. He seems to have found a nice style and pacing. The mystery was interesting and kept me reading. The final resolution was also well-thought out. The characters, especially Inspector Sinclair and Sgt Styles and, of course, Madden are all easy to picture. My only criticism of the story was that there wasn't enough of Madden, that the story revolved more around Sinclair, which isn't a problem, just a point. As well, I don' ...more
Jeannie and Louis Rigod
I started this series with the last book first, Sigh! With that statement, also allow me to warn my usual followers, this is Not a cozy mystery. Not at all, but oh boy, it was one heck of a murder mystery.

The John Madden series, is about a retired police inspector (formerly of Scotland Yard,) now a gentleman farmer, living with his wife, Dr. Madden and two children in pre-war 1932, England.

A dreadful cry arises for a missing child. John and Constable, Will have the terror of finding the girl and
Voilà un bon thriller idéal pour l’été, avec une bonne histoire et du suspense. La quatrième de couverture compare Airth à Agatha Christie, mais ce n’est vraiment comparable que par le cadre car on est loin du «whodunnit». Aux deux tiers du livre on sait qui est l’assassin et la seule question qui se pose est de savoir s’il sera arrêté avant le prochain meurtre. J’apprécie le fait que l’auteur ne s’appesantisse pas trop sur l’horreur des crimes avec trop de détails comme c’est souvent le cas dan ...more
Another really good crime mystery featuring John Madden. This installment takes place in 1932, after Madden has retired from Scotland Yard. A young girl goes missing in a neighboring town, and Madden discovers her body when he volunteers as a member of a search party. He's drawn into the investigation, which takes a sinister international turn against the backdrop of the Nazi rise to power in Germany.

Overall another solid book. It's a quick read and very entertaining. I'll definitely be continui
Ellen Keim
My problems with this book are as follows:
It's supposed to be the second in a series about John Madden, but he barely makes an appearance.
There is no attempt to get inside of Madden's head.
He is idealized as some kind of super sleuth but we barely see him in action.
The writing is stiff and formal and tends toward over-explanation.
Although it's set in the 1930's, it seems more Victorian in tone.
There are references to Hitler's growing influence in Germany, but it seems more like a tacked-on ide
Very similar to the first book in tone, I greatly enjoyed Airth's follow-up.

A minor issue that I didn't notice in the first book, and didn't detract greatly from my enjoyment, but might bother others: Airth uses the fact that his characters work for Scotland yard, and that there were forensic tests available as permission to use them. I'm not sure how widespread such tactics would have been, but it could be seen as a bit of a cheat.

Airth also sets up the mystery in the same way, where he identi
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Rennie Airth was born in South Africa and has worked as a foreign correspondent for Reuters. The first novel in his John Madden trilogy, River of Darkness, was published in 1999 to huge critical acclaim, was shortlisted for four crime fiction awards and won the Grand Prix de Littérature Policière in France. The sensational sequel was The Blood-Dimmed Tide, and The Dead of Winter forms the final pa ...more
More about Rennie Airth...

Other Books in the Series

John Madden (4 books)
  • River of Darkness (John Madden, #1)
  • The Dead of Winter (John Madden, #3)
  • The Reckoning
River of Darkness (John Madden, #1) The Dead of Winter (John Madden, #3) The Reckoning Snatch! Once A Spy

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“Generally speaking, psychiatry is concerned with the treatment of neuroses, with patients who are aware of their illness and wish to be cured. Dr. Franz Weiss” 0 likes
“The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere The ceremony of innocence is drowned   W. B. Yeats ‘The Second Coming” 0 likes
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