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The Dead of Winter (John Madden, #3)
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The Dead of Winter (John Madden #3)

3.8 of 5 stars 3.80  ·  rating details  ·  747 ratings  ·  133 reviews
The murder of a young Polish girl in wartime London puts John Madden on the trail of a ruthless hired killer
On a freezing London night in 1944, Rosa Novak is brutally murdered during a blackout. The police suspect she was the victim of a random act of violence and might have dropped the case if former police investigator John Madden hadn't been the victim's employer.
Mad
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Hardcover, 416 pages
Published July 23rd 2009 by Viking Adult (first published January 1st 2009)
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Best Literary Mysteries
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,275)
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Susan
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, b ...more
Barbara
Had I not read Rennie Airth's first two books, I would have been tempted to give this book a four star rating. Airth, a South African, whose books take place in England, has spaced his mysteries about twenty years apart. One cannot help but think of Foyle, in the PBS series "Foyle's War" when reading these books. The first one followed the "Great War" and this one focuses on WW II. Police forces had continued to attempt law and order, but with slim resources and personnel, the task was difficult ...more
Yvette
This is a rare disappointment from an otherwise
wonderful writer. I feel that perhaps he was rushed
to finish this for publication. Too bad.
They should just let him take his time.

This book is heavily loaded down with tons of exposition
which should have been edited out and inserted into the
story in another way. Most of it seems like short-cut writing merely to inform the reader.I was truly surprised.

Don't let this stop you though, from reading the first
two John Madden novels which are brilliant.
Susan
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 of ...more
Dana Stabenow
[writing one review for the trilogy]

The setting is England. The first novel, River of Darkness, takes place soon after World War I, where a serial killer is charging into rural homes and slaughtering entire families. The second novel, The Blood-Dimmed Tide, takes place a decade later, in the depths of the Great Depression, and a homicidal maniac is targeting young girls for rape and murder. The third novel, The Dead of Winter (love that title), takes place in 1944, after D-Day but before the Bat
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Tripp
Rennie Airth's latest, the Dead of Winter, would have been a perfectly good book, if it had not been written after his excellent River of Darkness (looks like there is a mass market available - you are crazy not to get this book at that price) and quite good Blood Dimmed Tide. Now it seems like a book that could have been much better.

The book differs in a number of ways from the previous stories. Two of the most significant though are the time frame and the characters. Unlike the previous books
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Ron
Dec 31, 2012 Ron rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone who enjoys a good detective novel.
Recommended to Ron by: Found it on Goodreads.
Shelves: no-large-print
At first, I was disappointed in this, the 3rd John Madden book by Rennie Airth. But, in the end, I was much more appreciative of it. A fine story, although I did appreciate the other 2(River of Darkness and The Blood-Dimmed Tide) more. Not that it wasn't up to the high standard that Mr. Airth had set for himself. Maybe I just had too high of an expectation. Maybe especially so as this appears to be the last of the series. To my mind, Airth has covered Madden's "life" a little to quickly. Madden ...more
LJ
First Sentence: 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.

It’s 1944 and England is anticipating the end of the War, but crime lives on. A young Polish is brutally murdered on the streets of London. Chief Inspector Angus Sinclair is assigned the case along with Inspector Bil
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Valentin Mihov
Product Description

"[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 t

...more
Cat Reads
This book started interesting, but what I was hoping and expecting I did not get. I wanted thrilling, exciting, suspense and instead I got boring procedural crap that was very tedious to get through. The reason for the first murder, that everything else seemed to stem from, wasn't juicy or thrilling and I found myself being completely let down by the case itself for that reason.

The book itself is boring, for the reasons I said above, and I felt the author went too far to being realistic. We all
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Leah
Convincing war-time setting

A young Polish woman is garrotted on a blackout-dark London street. Around her are some burnt matches as if someone had been looking for something. But nothing has been stolen and it appears that the woman was not assaulted prior to her death. When the police manage to identify her, it turns out she was a land girl working for ex-police inspector John Madden, who is still a close friend of the investigating officer Chief Inspector Angus Sinclair. So it seems only natur
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Patricia
Rennie Airths books have all the elements I love in a good mystery,it.s set in the past with a mystery and murders resulting from events further in the past which reverberate into the present time in which the story is set. In this case, it is Dec 1944 but the beginning is in Paris just before the fall to the Germans. Add In Jewish Polish refugees who do not want to attract attention in England and the stage is set.
He retired John Madden, the protagonist at the end of the first book but each suc
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Shireen
OK, it's rare for me not to finish a book. I'm endemically inclined to finish any book I pick up, even if it takes me years. But this writer has a really annoying habit of jumping around in time. At first, I thought the publisher had screwed up the ebook formatting and left out pages. I'd be in the middle of a scene, "turn" the page, and I'm suddenly somewhere ahead in time. When I kept reading, I'd eventually enter one of the character's thoughts of what happened from the point the writer left ...more
Anne
The third and latest of Rennie Airth's elegant mysteries takes place in and around London in the waning, atmospheric months of the second World War, already five years long. The homes and businesses rubbled in the Blitz have become landmarks themselves, counterpoints to St. Paul's Cathedral standing untouched in their midst. Savvy Londoners have decoded the operational physics of the various bombs that have been dropped on their heads and can predict trajectory and target by the sounds of their ...more
Leslie
Although this was no River of Darkness--Rennie Airth's first novel featuring John Madden--I enjoyed it well enough. There were a few plot "twists" that I saw coming, but many more that I did not, and there were about 20 pages towards the end that I held my breath through. The writing did not seem as graceful as that in River, but that may be because I've been more recently spoiled by Kate Atkinson's and Jane Gardam's eloquence.

John Madden, our traumatized World War I hero with a Scotland Yard b
...more
Alistair
an adequate read no more . a police procedural set in london in WW11 it tells of the tracking down of a brutal serial killer . There are a lot of extremely dull characters in the story not least John Madden the retired policeman himself who is at the heart of the investigation . I have nothing against decent people but the decent people are a bit too good to be true and the villains too nasty .

I am pleased to read an old style detective novel in which the detective is not an alchoholic , divorce
...more
Patricia Uttaro
I fell in love with Rennie Airth’s writing when I read River of Darkness, which was such a dark, clever story that I began to recommend it to library patrons constantly. The horrifyingly good writing continued in The Blood-Dimmed Tide and now returns in Dead of Winter, which picks up the story of John Madden 20 years after we got to know him in Airth’s first book.

Old friends abound in Dead of Winter – Madden, his engaging wife Helen (who I always picture as Helen Mirren for some reason…), and hi
...more
Jennifer (JC-S)
‘What have we missed?’

During a blackout, in London late in 1944, an Air Raid Warden bumps into a young woman. He offers to accompany her to her destination; she thanks him and declines his offer. A short time later, the Air Raid Warden stumbles over her dead body. It isn’t clear why Rosa Nowak was murdered: there is no obvious motive, there are very few clues and not many witnesses can be identified. An ageing police force is stretched: there may be a shortage of police manpower but not of oppor
...more
Janet Martin
Not as strong as the first 2 books in this too short series, but still a wonderful historical police procedural. These books definitely benefit from being read in order and the terrific characters continue to develop, both individually and in company
Argum
Another decade has passed and we now find John Madden 20 years past the first book a farmer with a son off to war. Sinclair is sticking around until the war ends and new men can come to the Yard. This time a farm hand of John's is murdered in London on a weekend trip to visit an aunt and many old dark stories come to light. John takes a special interest in seeing the case resolved as he feels a sense of responsibility for the dead girl, but as usual a dark twisty criminal is at the heart of the ...more
Corny
Regretfully, the third in the series of John Madden books has become forumulaic. Although the setting is now the Second World War and the descriptions are still most interesting, the type of villain is the same and the ending is predictable. However, there are still interesting plot turns and Airth is at his best describing life in rural England. The characters, well drawn and likable despite their flaws, remain many of the same as in the previous stories and have just aged by 12 years since the ...more
Elaine
This book came into my hands in an unusual way. My husband went to see 39 steps on Broadway, and when he came out people were giving out books.
He did not know why, but when he noticed it was a murder mystery, he passed it on to me. For fans of British crime novels, this is a gem. Set in winter before the end of World War II, scotland yards deals with the death of a Polish refugee whose death would have been ignored, except she was the employee of a retired police investigator, John Madden. Wonde
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Diana Sandberg
I still like the first one best, but this one rattles on quite well. I was relieved not to have his wife play a major part in this one; she seemed so one-sided in the previous volume. Definitely kept me reading. The author takes such huge leaps in time between volumes. Can't see that he can go much further if there's to be a next one. Wonder if he's determined to end the series, or if he will go back and fill in.
Sheila Beaumont
Author Rennie Airth produces one of his outstanding historical thrillers, set between the world wars and during WWII, only about once every five years, but they're well worth the wait. In this one, the third, a vicious, elusive, psychopathic killer, who has committed brutal murders in both continental Europe and England, must be tracked down and stopped. The characters are beautifully portrayed, as are the time and place. This complex, suspenseful tale, involving much back-story, is so skillfull ...more
Andrea
This is the third in Airth's John Madden trilogy and unfortunately, I did not enjoy this one as much as I did the first two. "River of Darkness"- which takes place just after WWI in England and marks the introduction of Detective Madden- is brilliant and one of the best mysteries I've read. "The Dead of Winter" is set 20 years later, at the tail end of WWII, and here Madden is a mere side character with other players stepping up to the forefront. Sometimes that works, but I wish Madden had playe ...more
Kirk
I rather liked this police procedural set in London in WWII. A bit old-fashioned, but a good read. Even without Google and the Internet, they still got their man.
Dennis
A true mystery with suspense and crime fighting. Chance plays a large part in the crime and solving.
Jim Graham
A good solid police procedural, laid in England at the end of WW2. Likable characters, and well written.
Ken Vaughan
A police procedural, set in England at the close of the Second World War. A young Polish woman is found murdered, and retired police investigator John Madden becomes involved in the solving of the crime. He has a vested interest, as he was her employer. But the reason for her death is buried deeply in her past, and it soon becomes apparent that a ruthless assassin is at work, covering the tracks of his crimes. This is a good read, though sometimes the procedural part is a tad tedious.
This is the
...more
Marianne
I finished this Thursday night and it is truly an excellent mystery. In fact, it's the perfect mystery. The main character is well-drawn; a reserved, Scotland Yard retiree who fought in The Great War -- nothing maudlin about it, and no modern interpretation of "what they really thought." I read too many Golden Age authors to put up with that foolishness. A murder (several, in fact) involving England, the Continent, interesting ramifications of identity cards, rationing, the role of women, and ho ...more
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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 Blood-Dimmed Tide (John Madden, #2)
  • The Reckoning
River of Darkness (John Madden, #1) The Blood-Dimmed Tide (John Madden, #2) The Reckoning Snatch! Once A Spy

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