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The Blood-Dimmed Tide (John Madden #2)

3.97  ·  Rating Details ·  1,739 Ratings  ·  183 Reviews
With the publication of the New York Times Notable Book River of Darkness, Rennie Airth established himself as a master of suspense. The Blood-Dimmed Tide, set in 1932, marks the return of the beloved Inspector John Madden, whose discovery of a young girl's mutilated corpse near his home in rural England brings him out of retirement despite his wife's misgivings. Soon he f ...more
Paperback, 352 pages
Published May 30th 2006 by Penguin (first published 2004)
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Jun 02, 2014 Susan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 16, 2013 E.C. Ambrose rated it really liked it
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
Jun 10, 2012 Al rated it it was ok
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
Anne Fontaine
Aug 03, 2009 Anne Fontaine rated it really liked it
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
Shirley Schwartz
This is a book that I would wish to give more than 5 stars if it was possible. It is that good! This second book in the Inspector John Madden series is set in 1932, which is is some 14 years later than the first book in the series. John Madden has left the police force, married his physician wife Helen who we met in book one, and has a son and daughter of his own. He owns and operates a farm in south England in the Surrey area. Life is good for John and his family and Helen in particular, is ver ...more
Brian Steele
Nov 13, 2010 Brian Steele rated it it was amazing
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
Sep 22, 2012 Edel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 09, 2015 Judy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Rennie Airth does it again. It took me a bit longer to get into this second book about retired Scotland Yard inspector, John Madden, but the well-written plot soon becomes just as engrossing. Though Madden is retired, he becomes involved in a case when he discovers the body of a young girl. There are recognizable characters from Airth's first book, and it's like meeting old friends. Madden's part is limited, but his former associates use every chance they can to pick his brain. When they think t ...more
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
Nancy Brady
A serial killer of young girls is on the loose in Great Britain, and a former Scotland Yard inspector, John Madden, finds one of the bodies. Despite trying to stay out of the investigation for his wife's sake, Madden can't let it go.

The nefarious murderer is a slippery one, and it will take all of Madden's observational skills plus all of the local police and Scotland Yard's finest to track down the killer before too many young girls are killed.

Tight, well-written thriller.
Oct 10, 2014 Knewmyer rated it really liked it
Shelves: kindle-library, 2014
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.
Apr 05, 2013 Sandra rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebook, mystery, historical
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
Aug 09, 2012 Cooper Renner rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Mar 21, 2017 Art rated it really liked it
Several years have passed since John Madden's first case. He has retired from Scotland Yard, gotten married and had children.

But when he discovers the body of a missing girl, he is drawn into an investigation that reunites him with his former colleagues.

The result is another outstanding entry in this top-notch series by former Reuters correspondent Rennie Airth. It is quickly becoming one of my favorites. I can not wait to read the next entry.
Mar 13, 2017 Moirad rated it really liked it
A very successful combination of a bucolic English countryside setting (complete with deferential, loyal servants and genial employers, enlightened attitudes towards tramps and gypsies) and a horrific series of crimes, with the background of increasing anxiety about Germany's politics in the 1930s.
Mar 06, 2012 Karen rated it liked it
Shelves: crime, united-kingdom
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 17, 2013 Christopher Hernandez rated it really liked it
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
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
Jan 26, 2017 Beth rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017
What an excellent series! I have only two modest complaints. There are apparently four books total so far, (this was the second) but each sequel takes place roughly ten years after the last. At that rate, the total number of entries is going to be limited by the advancing age of John Madden, a most remarkable hero who, by my reckoning, will be in his late 50's at least by the fourth book. Madden retired from Scotland Yard after the first book to marry, raise a family, and farm. I guess there hav ...more
Feb 05, 2016 Ed rated it really liked it
#2 in the John Madden series. Finalist 2006 Barry Award for Best British Crime Novel. After John Madden's debut in the Scotland Yard of 1921, River of Darkness (1999), his new wife has persuaded him to quit the police force for farming in Surrey. Now in 1932, he encounters his village bobby involved in searching for a missing 12 year old girl. He joins the search and finds the raped and mutilated body of the missing girl. Although he tries to heed his wife's admonitions to stay clear of the case ...more
May 06, 2013 Rusty rated it really liked it
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
Aug 27, 2009 Trish rated it liked it
Shelves: mysteries
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
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
Mitch McCrimmon
Jun 08, 2016 Mitch McCrimmon rated it it was ok
I enjoyed the first volume in this series but not this one. Both were a bit slow paced and overly detailed for my liking, especially about the sensitivities around Scotland Yard taking over a crime investigation from the local, rural police, but I wasn't too bothered by that in the first volume as it was quite suspenseful and the character of the detective, John Madden, was interesting. Now, in The Blood-Dimmed Tide it is 11 years later (1932). Why let a good detective sit on the shelf for 11 ye ...more
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
Oct 26, 2016 Tony rated it really liked it
THE BLOOD-DIMMED TIDE. (2004). Rennie Airth. ***1/2.
This was my introduction to Mr. Airth, his third novel. His first one, “River of Darkness,” was nominated for an Edgar Award. The series revolves around Inspector John Madden, a currently retired former member of Scotland Yard. The subtitle of the book tells us that the story is set in “early 1930s England.” In reality, it could just as well have been 1930s Egypt, as long as you didn’t see any pyramids in the distance. It’s all set in the count
Moumita Sarcar
Jan 21, 2013 Moumita Sarcar rated it liked it
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
Jill Hutchinson
Sep 05, 2011 Jill Hutchinson rated it really liked it
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
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
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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 (5 books)
  • River of Darkness (John Madden, #1)
  • The Dead of Winter (John Madden, #3)
  • The Reckoning (John Madden, #4)
  • The Death of Kings (John Madden, #5)

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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” 1 likes
“The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere The ceremony of innocence is drowned   W. B. Yeats ‘The Second Coming” 1 likes
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