RENNIE AIRTH – The Decent Inn of Death. John Madden & Angus Sinclair #6. Penguin, US, trade paperback, January 2020.

   The first joint adventure of Scotland Yard detectives (recorded in River of Darkness, 1999) took place in 1921. It wasn’t clear in what year The Decent Inn of Deceit happens, but both gentlemen are well settled in retirement., and my sense is that it happens in the early 50s, but I could be wrong about that. It’s certainly post WWII.

   Sinclair appears to be older of the two. They live close by, but Sinclair lives alone and has heart and/or blood pressure problems and is under the medical care of Madden’s wife Helen. He must carry his pills with him at all times, and of course this comes into play later on.

   It begins with a woman with a German background being fond dead in a brook, and in spite of the coroner’s report, her housemate does not think it was an accident. In spite of his age, Sinclair decides to follow up, not exactly believing her, but he knew has a nose for sniffing into things when they just don’t feel right.

   And eventually both he and Madden are trapped in a snowbound house, totally isolated from the rest of the world with a possible murderer, possibly a vicious serial killer, caught in the house with them. The list of those inside includes the owner, a vivacious woman in a wheelchair, her would-be suitor, her chauffeur, her cook, and her personal assistant.

   All of the detective work that gets them into this predicament takes place in the first third of the book. After that it’s an edge-of-seat suspense thriller. If I’m any kind of an example, the last fifty pages or so will fly by in a blur.

   I don’t know if this a book to be read in snowbound New England in January or not. It will only add to the chill. You might want to put off reading this one in the middle of July instead, but read it, I most definitely recommend you do.

      The John Madden & Angus Sinclair series —

1. River of Darkness (1999)
2. The Blood-Dimmed Tide (2004)
3. The Dead of Winter (2009)
4. The Reckoning (2014)
5. The Death of Kings (2017)
6. The Decent Inn of Death (2020)