During a blackout on the streets of London on a freezing evening in late 1944, a young Polish land girl, Rosa Nowak, is suddenly and brutally killed. For the police, their resources already stretched by war regulations and the thriving black market, this is a shocking and seemingly random crime. No one can find any reason why someone would want to murder an innocent refugee.
For the former police inspector John Madden, the crime hits close to home. Rosa was working on his farm and he feels personally responsible for not protecting her. His old colleagues Angus Sinclair and Billy Styles are still at the Yard, but struggle to make sense of their few clues.
Their only lead points towards war-torn Europe – but as the fighting sweeps across the continent, will they find the killer before he strikes again?
'An excellent and convincing evocation of wartime London' C. J.Sansom
'A superlative detective novel . . . Airth’s John Madden novels are must-reads’ Daily Express
‘Compelling . . . Airth’s atmosphere of London at war is superb’ The Times
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The CWA Ellis Cooper Historical Dagger Award shortlisted third novel featuring Inspector Madden, from the author of River of Darkness and The Blood-Dimmed TideReview:
Slowly but surely, Rennie Airth has been building a reputation as one of the most solid and accomplished practitioners of the intelligent crime thriller, with an ironclad combination of adroit storytelling skills and carefully wrought characterisation (something of a speciality for this author). The Dead of Winter is the latest example of Airth's finely-honed art, and is as impressive and involving as such predecessors as Rivers of Darkness and The Blood-Dimmed Tide, (the first two parts of this trilogy).
We are once again in the company of troubled copper John Madden, the time period having moved on from the first books to the Second World War. It is the time of Churchill’s radio broadcasts, the blackout and the ever-present threat of V2 bombs. Near the British Museum in London, a young woman refugee from war-torn Poland is killed. She had been engaged as a landgirl on a farm where she had won the affection of the farmer and his wife -- and that farmer is John Madden, no longer utilising his detection skills for Scotland Yard. But he is prepared to aid his ex-comrades in this disturbing situation, and utilises his still-keen expertise to dig into the murder. Madden becomes aware that the killer is almost certainly a professional hitman. Why did he murder his Polish victim? It’s up to John Madden to construct a plausible case from a slender assortment of clues – and, what’s more, in the face of considerable personal danger.
Those who read Rennie Airth’s earlier books will need little persuasion to pick The Dead of Winter up; and new readers will be entranced by the carefully constructed narrative and strong sense of period. --Barry Forshaw
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Book Description Penguin Canada, 2009. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # P110143171046