A John Madden Mystery by Rennie Airth
Review: England, 1947. The country is still recovering from the horrendous conflict of World War II. Rationing remains in effect and things are difficult all around due to the lack of housing and the bomb sites, which litter the city. To add to the chaos, a mad gunman appears to be on the loose in the city killing elderly men, in The Reckoning, the fourth mystery in this series featuring Inspector John Madden by Rennie Airth.
Oswald Gibson, a retired banker, was sitting alone by a body of water enjoying a day of fishing when he is shot in the back of his neck at very close range. Although someone heard the shot, the shooter disappeared so fast a precise identification could not be made; it could have been a man wearing a red sweater and black hat. During the investigation by Detective Inspector Billy Styles, a partially written letter was found at the banker's home written to the Chief of Scotland Yard asking how he could get in touch with John Madden. Styles had worked for Madden when he was a Chief Inspector with the department, though he has now retired. Styles contacts Madden immediately to see if there might be a connection. Madden, however, has no recollection of ever meeting or even seeing the man at any time. Madden quickly offers his assistance to the force. While continuing to investigate this crime, Styles is informed that an elderly physician was killed in the same manner just a few weeks ago in Scotland. The police there had no clues as to the assassin. Then when a third man is killed, again in the same manner with the same gun, Madden begins to see a connection, but how can he authenticate what he believes? Madden realizes he could be on the killer's list of those he wanted dead and must race against time to expose the killer before anyone else could be killed.
The Reckoning is an electrifying historical mystery. Though set in post-World War II England, there are references to World War I as well. John Madden and Billy Styles are likeable characters, sharing happy memories from their pasts while earnestly trying to solve this series of crimes. There are also several strong women in the story that are memorable and quite appealing. This excellent entry in this series will capture readers early and hold their interest until the case is solved.
Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of The Betz Review for contributing her review of The Reckoning.
Acknowledgment: Penguin Group provided a copy of The Reckoning for this review.
Review Copyright © 2014 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Location(s) referenced in The Reckoning: England
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The Reckoning by Rennie Airth — A John Madden Mystery
Publication Date: August 2014
List Price: $26.95
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Page Author: Lance Wright
Site Publisher: Mysterious Reviews
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