Regular price: $31.49

Membership details Membership details
  • A 30-day trial plus your first audiobook, free.
  • 1 credit/month after trial – good for any book, any price.
  • Easy exchanges – swap any book you don’t love.
  • Keep your audiobooks, even if you cancel.
  • After your trial, Audible is just $14.95/month.
  • Get access to the Member Daily Deal
OR
In Cart

Publisher's Summary

In 1921, the bloodied bodies of Colonel Fletcher, his wife and two staff are found in a manor house in Surrey. The police have put the murders down to a violent robbery, but Detective Inspector Madden from Scotland Yard has his own suspicions. In the meantime the killer is plotting his second strike.

©1999 Rennie Airth (P)2002 Recorded Books, LLC

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    157
  • 4 Stars
    142
  • 3 Stars
    65
  • 2 Stars
    18
  • 1 Stars
    6

Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    179
  • 4 Stars
    103
  • 3 Stars
    36
  • 2 Stars
    2
  • 1 Stars
    8

Story

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    133
  • 4 Stars
    115
  • 3 Stars
    57
  • 2 Stars
    13
  • 1 Stars
    6
Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Nancy J
  • Tornado Alley OK
  • 06-27-12

New Mystery Written in 1920's Style-What A Thrill!

Mysteries written in the 20s or 30s -- or set in the 20s or 30s -- are some of my favorites. Rennie Airth has written a wonderful story, evocative of post WWI era, but introducing modern elements, like a serial killer with psychological problems. The characters are well-drawn, the plot keeps you interested, and a little love story is thrown in for added enjoyment. Christopher Kay does an excellent job narrating, making vaious regional British accents sound believable (at least to an American!) and still making them understandable.

I will definitely be looking for more from Airth.

19 of 19 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Exceptional Story

This book kept me up all night listening. While seemingly a story of gratuitous murder, River of Darkness also explores the theme of how a person's psyche long after a war is over. War, in fact, is never over for some. Airth skillfully weaves together a police investigation, a love story, and a killer's narrative. I highly recommend this book. The narrator was excellent and his regional accents sounded authentic, at least to my untrained ear.

17 of 17 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Story could lose the romance.

This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

If you like romances with a bit of detective work thrown in you would probably enjoy this book.

Would you ever listen to anything by Rennie Airth again?

No.

Have you listened to any of Christopher Kay’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

First time, he was adequate.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

I though it was trying to ride the fence between romance and mystery/war in order to interest a broader audience. Failed.

12 of 13 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Flavius
  • Morro Bay, CA, United States
  • 06-28-13

This Mystery Does Not Sacrifice Story

River of Darkness exceeded my expectations. I thought I was buying a detective yarn, where a brilliant detective would be paired against a wily and diabolical killer, chasing clue after clue until finally piecing together the mystery. And make no mistake, those elements are strong throughout the book, but at the same time, RoD offers quite a bit more.

Like all the best stories, this is really about living people, not murders. This is somewhat ironic, given that when we first meet him, the protagonist is a man in many respects already dead. Set just a few years after WWI, the echoes of that terrible conflict are still very much present in the world of "River." It seems to stain combatants and non-combatants alike, men and women both.

Despite the grisly subject matter and the sense of ennui that seems to surround so many of the characters when we first meet them, this is ultimately a positive, redemptive book.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Pleasant and Familiar

A nice if formulaic historical serial killer mystery. Unlike many mysteries, the question isn't whodunnit, but rather when will he be caught and why does he do it? It's an interesting enough premise that suffers a bit with the length of the novel. The perspective shifts between characters occasionally at chapter breaks which was a bit disorienting to listen to. However, the narrator has a pleasantly dry British reading that made it easy to let the story ramble on. Perhaps one of the more unnecessary plot aspects is a tacked on romance between one of the main characters and the village doctor. Not enough time is given to the relationship to let it develop enough that I felt invested. The doctor, while an important character early in the novel, fades out of the plot in the second and third parts, which further derails the attempt at a romantic subplot.

That being said, I did enjoy the book and am interested in reading more of the authors work.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A Delightful New Series!

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Absolutely yes! I would recommend it for anyone who loves mysteries, complex characters, and a powerful story.

What other book might you compare River of Darkness to and why?

I love mysteries and suspenseful books like Agatha Christie, Ngaio Marsh, Charles Todd, and Louise Penny, but have read all of those. This was an amazing find and I wish there were more in Airth's series!

What about Christopher Kay’s performance did you like?

I thought it was varied and that he captured a great range of emotion throughout the book, especially for some of the darker moments.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

No, I broke it up since I'm in grad school but it became harder and harder to turn it off!!

Any additional comments?

This is a wonderful mystery and anyone who likes Agatha Christie, Charles Todd, or Louise Penny will love this new series and the depth of these captivating characters. I also hope that Audible makes the 2nd and 3rd books in the series quickly, since only the 1st and 4th have been recorded so far!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

I wanted to like it

I did want to like this book. I like the Ian Rutledge series and honestly, this is very close in premise to them. Both main characters are Scotland Yard Inspectors damaged by the First World War.

Alas, I am afraid I didn't. First of all, the whole romance part was just annoying. The book is overly long as it is and every time it dipped into romance novel territory I rolled my eyes and sped up the reader. I don't mind a little romance in a mystery series (I LOVE Lord Peter and Harriet), but I really only find it less than annoying when the relationship develops in any realistic way. But when characters develop "undying love" for each other with in minutes of meeting and have sex (especially in period pieces where the social mores were so very different) in the middle of the investigation, I just check out. Perhaps if the sex scenes were more realistic and less breathless romance novel-y..but no I wish it was not there at all.

It was also overly long. Long is not bad if it is riveting. This wasn't. This was lots of extra scenes thrown in that really didn't need to be there (or didn't need to be so long). I kept speeding up the reader just to get through much of it.

The plot was also predictable. I saw the "twist" at the end coming. The idea that you know who the murderer is is from nearly the beginning of the book was moderately interesting at first, but as it dragged on I just wanted them to catch him and be done.

The one redeeming value of the book was the characters. I did like Madden and the other characters for the most part. The narrator also did a good job.

I didn't hate this book with a blue and fiery passion, I just wanted to like it couldn't.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

characters, story and narrator ❤

Ronnie Airth. is such a good story teller. the character development is so complete for me and combined with Christopher Key as narrator. makes this one I listen too. over and over.
traveling so much for work. this is lime my bed time story.

I would recommend this audio. I wish Mr Airth had his other books in audio format. with Mr Key.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Beverly
  • Goleta, California 93117
  • 01-14-11

More Please!

Great book for this genre. I would love to see more of Rennie Airth's work if available.

7 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Spellbinding

Great story, superb narration, could not believe I was not able to finish in one listening.

Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Amazon Customer David Hand
  • 04-11-11

River of Darkness

This story is first class and should be rated as one of the best thrillers ever produced. I am a walker and listen to the storys as I walk, but I found myself rooted to the ground due to the sheer suspense, this book had you twisting from one spot to another. For the first time in the whole of my life (and I am no chicken), I found tears in my eyes. Its a book you will never forget and that is what a good book should do.I must make a mention of the reader he is so good that you think you are there with him, and the many characters are treated to their own accents.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Elizabeth Davies
  • 04-22-11

Easy

This is an 'easy' listen. For me, there was no 'rewinding'; the story flowed easily and the characters were memorable. I enjoyed the historical setting and the reading. Good, good.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Roberta
  • 11-16-14

Evocative and Spellbinding

Wonderfully engrossing tale remininscent of Barbara Cleverly's atmospheric crime stories expertly narrated by Christopher Kay. So moving a memoir of the terrible loss to humanity of the generation of first world war victims of that madness in an entirely accessible account from a small scale perspective. Beautifully written. I can't wait to read more from this talented author. Thank you.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • David
  • 09-24-17

Odd sort of Aberdonian

Although the 'main' murders occur pretty near the beginning of the story, the book somehow takes a very long time after that to introduce everyone and longer still to develop their characters. It was well over half way through before I began to care much about any of the characters, or be overly interested in what happened to them, though I'd have to say that the final third of the book is pretty good.

But that narrator (Christopher Kay)! One of the principal characters is described as coming from Aberdeen. The accent chosen for him was more appropriate to Morningside. To non-Scots, this may seem a rather pedantic observation, but imagine, for example, a character being described as Cornish or Cumbrian and yet being given a Cockney accent. (Apologies, Morningsiders, not suggesting that select part of Edinburgh is at all like the East End of London; just that the accents are VERY different, and impact upon one's perception of character). Other accents - 'general West Country', Brummie, Liverpudlian and Cockney itself seem to have been attempted for other characters from time to time; none of them very successfully. General story telling, also, not really up to the standard of many others available. There seems to be a version with another narrator available; perhaps better to try that one.

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Zed Bay
  • 03-20-17

Disappointing

I bought this on the strength of other highly positive reviews. Sadly I was not gripped by this book at all. My husband thought it might make a better film than book. The characters were numerous but flimsy and somewhat stereotyped, the sex was exceptionally explicit in a what-bit-goes-where Sex for Dummies kind of way. The final denouement, after you think the story is wrapped up, was quite exciting, but very bloody and violent. Just not a very crisp, tightly structured or intriguing book. I never really cared enough about what might happen next.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • MAGGS
  • 11-09-16

River of Darkness - good old fashioned classic detective read

River of Darkness - good old fashioned classic detective read
Narrator Christopher Kay would have got 4 stars but detective madden seemed to pronounced madam.
Good classic detective book could be a bit slow for some listeners
and storyline was a bit dark but I enjoyed it

Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Alf
  • 04-13-18

good story

Good yarn, enjoyed it from start to finish. I will look for more from Rennie Ainth.