River of Darkness, by Rennie Airth

A perfectly executed serial killer thriller, set in the English countryside post-WWI.

Having survived the trenches, a physically and emotionally scarred John Madden takes up his work again as Inspector with Scotland Yard to pursue a killer who came out of the war with a taste for blood. It’s grim, and stomach-turning, as one would expect a serial killer thriller to be, but I loved the procedural and the early forensics. The last half in particular is an edge-of-your-seat-turning-pages. I love the 1921 setting, and it was really fresh and original to see a mystery set in this place and period that isn’t an Agatha Christie-style manor house “cozy.” River of Darkness is the first in the Inspector Madden series.