Joyce Lagow's Reviews > The Blood-Dimmed Tide

The Blood-Dimmed Tide by Rennie Airth
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Apr 24, 12

bookshelves: kindle-edition, police-procedural
Read from April 23 to 24, 2012

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 Inspector Sinclair. When it becomes clear that a serial murderer is responsible, the investigation widens and British Intelligence becomes involved.

While the plot is interesting and well done, unfortunately the writing is much less so, descending into real mediocrity at times. What was acceptable stiltedness in both the prose and the dialogue is grating in this book. The characters are frozen--none evolve. In addition, as was true to a lesser extent in the first book, Airth does not evoke the period--1933 England--all that well. There is talk of the troubles in Germany, we read a little about hair styles--and that's it. With a few changes here and there, it could have taken place in almost any 20th century period.

I was disappointed in this book, and the only reason why I gave it as high a rating as I did was due to the plot and its development. I do intend to read the last in the series, for the sake of completion and some curiosity as to how Airth intends to end the series, but not for a while.
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