The Death of Kings

Rennie Airth

3.73 based on 742 ratings & 108 reviews on
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26 January 2017
400 pages

From the critically acclaimed author Rennie Airth, comes the fifth John Madden mystery, The Death of Kings.

I have reason to believe that the jade pendant accompanying this letter is the same one that disappeared from Miss Portia Blake's body in August 1938 . . . Since the piece could not have been stolen by the man who was hanged for Miss Blake's murder, the question arises: who else could have taken it?
And why?

1949. An unsigned letter arrives on the desk of Chief Inspector Derry of the Canterbury police. Enclosed is a jade pendant, identical to the one that went missing from the body of Portia Blake, an actress murdered a decade previously. The case had been shut quickly at the time – the accused vagrant gave a written confession and was sentenced to the gallows - but in the police's haste to close the inquiry, the necklace was never recovered. Until now.

Inspector Madden is asked to investigate the letter's worrying claims by his old friend, and former Chief Inspector, Angus Sinclair, who fears the wrong man may have been hanged on his watch. But with a world war separating Madden from the murder, the truth will not come easy . . .

All the books by the less-than-prolific Rennie Airth are worth waiting for, and this fifth entry in the Inspector Madden series is outstanding. It’s 1949 and Madden, now retired, reinvestigates the apparently solved murder of an actress in a novel that recalls Agatha Christie’s classic Five Little Pigs in its treatment of the themes of time and justice. There can be no higher praise

Sunday Express

Rennie Airth keeps us riveted

Daily Mail

An almost too beautifully written series

New York Times