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Rennie Airth Books In Order

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Publication Order of John Madden Books

River of Darkness (1999)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Blood-Dimmed Tide (2004)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Dead of Winter (2009)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Reckoning (2014)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Death of Kings (2017)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Decent Inn of Death (2020)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

A South African novelist, the author Rennie Airth has been an extremely prolific writer over the years, having not just written fiction, but also having worked as a foreign correspondent for the Reuters news agency too, adding to his long and extensive backlog of accomplishments throughout his lifetime. Creating a name for himself, he’s managed to build a respectable brand of journalism, along with his historically accurate and highly detailed fictional stories. Winning awards for his work, he’s exemplified by both his peers and contemporaries, with his novels being appreciated by the critics and the general public alike, on a national and an international scale.

Early and Personal Life

Born in South Africa in 1935, the soon to be writer Rennie Airth grew up in the area, as he took in the many sights and sounds that the country had to offer. All of this was then feeding into his passion for both reading and writing, as he took the many experiences of his formative years and turned them into what was to be his future adult writing career. It was here that he was to get a lot of his stories as well, as he began to formulate his themes ideas, many of which he’d carry throughout his later life.

Educated in journalism, he was to gain an insight into a certain style of reporting, something which would also help feed into his particular style of work. Creating an overall tone for his material, he would refine and hone his craft over the course of his academic career, building the distinctive voice that he would later come to work with. Reporting on many stories as well, he would also find plenty of ideas for his novels too, something which his many readers have found throughout his career.

Starting out at the Johannesburg Star newspaper, he would quickly find his feet as a journalist reporting on a number of different events. Stationed in places like Saigon, Havana and Washington over the years, he’d come to know a number of different places, all feeding into his own writing career to follow. With a world-wise perspective due to his extensive travelling and reporting, he could soon embark on his own career as a writer of considerable success.

Now living in Italy he still writes to this day, as he continues on with his unique brand of award winning fiction. Gaining critical and commercial success over the years, he’s been getting plaudits from all areas, as he sells both nationally and internationally across the world. With more books set to come from him in the near future, it appears that he’s not stopping anytime soon with plenty more planned on the horizon.

Writing Career

Whilst he started out in journalism he soon went on to write and publish his first novel Snatch in 1969, which made some impact on his audience. Later he would go on and publish his second book ‘Once Upon a Spy’ in 1981, which also helped to further establish his name as well. After this he started to focus on his John Madden series, which he initially started in 1999 and has been continuing ever since.

Known for his particular attention to detail, Rennie Airth is highly regarded for his keen sense of accuracy and atmosphere. Another factor that has ensured his success is his ability to weave an intricate mystery into all of this, keeping the reader guessing right until the very end. With a strong imagination too, he’s able to make his stories highly entertaining and engaging, whilst ensuring they remain in the realms of believability at the same time.

Winning a number of awards and nominations for his various contributions to the field, such as the Grand Prix de Litterature Policere in the International Category, he’s become a success both critically as well as commercially. With his books being continually discovered every day as well, there’s not just critical success, but commercial success too. This looks like a trend that’s set to continue on into the foreseeable future, as his writing career grows from strength-to-strength.


Originally published in 1969 on the 1st of March, this was the first book to be released by Rennie Airth as an author. Set as a stand-alone title, it manages to capture the author in the early stages of his career, providing a unique snapshot into his development as a writer. Initially brought out through the Simon and Schuster publishing label, it manages to capture a sense of style that is entirely unique to the author.

Living precariously on the wrong side of the law, Harry Brighton isn’t so bad, but he keeps finding himself up against the elements. That’s when a proposition is offered to him to kidnap the child of a wealthy Italian widower named Rifai, as he poses with a group of associates as another family in order to make the switch. Things don’t go quite as planned though, as the decoy baby Alberto is much loved by all, including Rifai, in this highly comic caper. Will they get away with it? What will become of baby Alberto? Can they make the snatch?

The Dead of Winter

Initially released on the 23rd of July, 2009, through the Viking Adult label, this was to be the third in the ongoing John Madden series of novels. Continuing from where the last book left off, it provides another case for the eponymous inspector, following in much the same style and tone as before. That’s not to say it doesn’t offer it’s own fair share of twists and turns along the way though, as it manages to keep its readers on the edges of their seats, constantly guessing throughout.

Set in London in 1944, this story commences on the night of a blackout, all following a girl named Roas Novak who is murdered during it. That’s when her from employer John Madden steps onto the scene, thus preventing it from turning into another random act of violence, as it becomes a fully fledged murder case. With the investigation taking him all the way to Paris as he meets a furrier there amidst the war torn aftermath, and it was someone who was previously part of the resistance. Why was she murdered? Where will this case lead Inspector John Madden of Scotland Yard? Just what lies within the dead of winter?

Book Series In Order » Authors » Rennie Airth

2 Responses to “Rennie Airth”

  1. john lynch: 5 months ago

    I was totally enthralled with Cold Kill and this author has the unique ability to weave a plot that really leaves one not knowing what might be on the next page-all the way to the end. I will be ordering more books, then donating to our local library. As is said, his writings are ‘must reads’. WoW !!

  2. Joan Redman: 2 years ago

    Hi, I’ve read all six of the John Madden series and love them. Will there be a number 7 soon? Hope so.


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