In the vein of Roderick Alleyn, Adam Dalgliesh & co.

Who is the Detective Inspector John Madden?

Historical crime series written by the South African novelist Rennie Airth, the John Madden series takes us back to the first half of the last century for some murder mysteries.

More precisely, the series is set in England between 1921 and 1949 and resolves around John Madden, a detective formerly of Scotland Yard, as he investigates murders—obviously.


John Madden Book In Order:

River of Darkness John Madden Books in Order The Blood-Dimmed Tide John Madden Books in Order The Dead of Winter John Madden Books in Order

  1. River of Darkness – It is 1921 and a terrible discovery has been made at a manor house in Surrey – the bloodied bodies of Colonel Fletcher, his wife and two of their staff. The victims have all been stabbed and the lack of disturbance in the house suggests that the attack was one of terrifying speed. The Surrey police force seem ready to put the murders down to robbery with violence, but Detective Inspector Madden from Scotland Yard sees things slightly differently.
  2. The Blood-Dimmed Tide – It is 1932 and John Madden, former Scotland Yard Inspector, is now a farmer in the peaceful Surrey countryside. However his peace is about to be shattered, for when a young girl goes missing, it is he who discovers her disfigured body hidden in a wood. Disturbed by what he has seen he is convinced the killer has struck before . . .
  3. The Dead of Winter – 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 John Madden hadn’t been her employer. Madden feels he owes it to Rosa to find her killer and pushes the investigation, uncovering her connection to a murdered Parisian furrier, a member of the Resistance, and a stolen cache of diamonds.

The Reckoning John Madden Books in Order The Death of Kings John Madden Books in Order The Decent Inn of Death John Madden Books in Order

  1. The Reckoning – The Second World War has ended, leaving a bruised and fragile peace. But this tranquillity is threatened when a shocking murder takes place in the Sussex countryside. Before long, police experts discover a link to another, earlier, killing hundreds of miles away . . . While Scotland Yard detective Billy Styles struggles to find a link between these two murders, a strange twist of fate brings John Madden into the investigations.
  2. The Death of Kings – On a hot summer day in 1938, a beautiful actress is murdered on the grand Kent estate of Sir Jack Jessup, close friend of the Prince of Wales. The arrest of an ex-convict and his subsequent confession swiftly bring the case to a close, but in 1949, the reappearance of a jade necklace raises questions about the murder. Was the man convicted and executed the decade before truly guilty? Though happily retired from the police force, John Madden is persuaded to investigate the case afresh.
  3. The Decent Inn of Death – Snowed in at a country manor, John Madden and Angus Sinclair find themselves trapped in the company of a murderer. On a trip into Winchester, former chief inspector Angus Sinclair learns of a tragedy that has taken place in the village he is staying in. Beloved church organist Greta Hartmann has slipped and fallen to her death in a shallow creek, and while investigations conclude it to be an accident, her friend and housemate, Vera, remains unconvinced.