Rennie Airth is back with her latest John Madden novel, The Death Of Kings (Viking; on sale Tuesday, January 3). This is her fourth book with the character. I haven’t read any of the previous books in the series.
It’s 1938 in England and a beautiful actress named Portia Blake goes for a walk and is later found murdered. The investigation starts and soon a man confesses to her murder and is hanged. Case over just like that. But is it really over?
Eleven years later a mysterious note and pendant shows up (which Portia was wearing the day she was killed) and it raises questions about the murder. Retired inspector John Madden is called to help look into the case for Scotland Yard. He has to do this discreetly at first as there’s no real proof about anything. He starts investigating people that knew Portia and were around at the time of the murder. The more digging he does he finds things don’t add up. After someone tips off the news, the case is reopened.
As people close to the victim start being killed it’s looking more and more like they know who the murdered is. Madden and Scotland yard ramp up the investigations and soon find the real murderer.
The mystery starts off great with clues to who it could be. Then by the middle of the book it becomes very clear who it is and it ends any suspense as to who the killer is. A good mystery should last until the very end. If you pay attention you will figure it out way before the end. That’s why I say it’s predictable.
That being said I did like the characters and the setting of the book. I would read more of these novels with these characters in the future.