#BookReview The Death of Remembrance (DCI Daley 10) by Denzil Meyrick

The Death of RemembranceAbout the Book

It’s 1983, and a beat constable walks away from a bar where he knows a crime is about to be committed. In the present, an old fisherman is found dead by the shoreline and a stranger with a mission moves into a shabby Kinloch flat.

Meanwhile, DCI Jim Daley is trying to help Brian Scott stay sober, and the good people of Kinloch are still mourning the death of one of their own. As past and present collide, Daley finds himself face to face with old friends and foes. Memories can only last as long as those who keep them, and ghosts will not be silenced.

Format: Paperback (400 pages)   Publisher: Polygon
Publication date: 2nd June 2022 Genre: Crime, Thriller

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My Review

The publication of The Death of Remembrance marks a triple celebration: ten years since DCI Daley made his first appearance (in Whisky from Small Glasses), reaching the milestone of one million copies of the series sold worldwide, and the news that DCI Daley will be coming to the TV screen in a drama series starring Game of Thrones actor, Rory McCann.

The Death of Remembrance is the tenth in the DCI Daley series and although I haven’t read any of the previous books, it turned out to be a perfect introduction to DCI Daley and his right-hand man, DS Brian Scott, as the book delves into their past alongside a contemporary storyline.  There are also brief references to events in previous books.

Daley and Scott have a close but occasionally turbulent relationship. They are both ‘old school’ detectives. At one point Scott remarks to Daley, ‘Face it. Me and you – we’re relics’. And both have struggled with alcohol problems. Scott still is struggling, much to the exasperation of his wife, Ella, and to Daley who is running out of options for saving Brian from the consequences of his actions, actions which may threaten his career. Daley’s problems are closer to home. His marriage to Liz is under strain, the demands of his job means he spends too little time with his family and his lifestyle – long hours and junk food – is taking a toll on his health.  The depth of characterisation is part of what made The Death of Remembrance such a compelling read for me. I also absolutely loved Hamish, the old fisherman whose instincts shouldn’t be ignored.

Other characters were equally memorable but definitely not in a good way. The sections of the book set in 1980s Glasgow transport the reader into a murky world of violence, intimidation, corruption and cruelty. We learn that the actions of the past cast a long shadow and a settling of scores is inevitable. As one character remarks, ‘The accounts must be reconciled, the books balanced’. There are some gripping and dramatic scenes towards the end of the book.

The partnership between Daley and Scott is in the tradition of great detective duos. I loved the moments of humour that acted as flashes of light amidst the darker aspects of the book. The humour is chiefly provided by Brian. The references to films and books that go over his head, and his frequent malapropisms made me chuckle. For example, when Daley reflects that although Brian is often trouble they have different strengths, Brian replies, ‘It’s that Jim and Jan thing’.

The Death of Remembrance has all the ingredients needed for a great crime thriller: a skilfully crafted plot, an authentic sense of place, moments of drama and compelling characters. I may be late to the party, but DCI Daley has acquired a new fan.

My thanks to Yasmine at Birlinn for my review copy.

In three words: Gripping, immersive, authentic

Try something similar: Poetic Justice by R.C. Bridgestock

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Denzil MeyrickAbout the Author

Denzil Meyrick was born in Glasgow and brought up in Campbeltown. After studying politics, he pursued a varied career including time spent as a police officer, freelance journalist and director of several companies in the leisure, engineering and marketing sectors. Denzil lives on Loch Lomond side with his wife, Fiona.

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#BlogTour #BookReview The Companion by Lesley Thomson @AriesFiction

The Companion blog tour FINALWelcome to the final day of the blog tour for The Companion by Lesley Thomson. My thanks to Sophie at Ransom PR for inviting me to take part in the tour and to Head of Zeus for my review copy.

The CompanionAbout the Book

James Ritchie was looking forward to a boys’ day out with his son, Wilbur – even if he was a little late picking him up from the home of his ex-wife, Anna. Annoyed by his late arrival, and competing for their son’s attention, Anna leaves the two of them to their day with the promise of a roast dinner when Wilbur returns.

But Anna will never see her family again. That afternoon, James and Wilbur are found dead, the victims of a double stabbing on the beach.

DI Toni Kemp, of Sussex police, must unravel a case which has shocked the county to its core..What she discovers will lead her to Blacklock House, a grand country mansion, long ago converted into flats..Here in the middle of nowhere, where a peacock struts the lawn, and a fountain plays intermittently, seven long-term residents have seen more than they should.

But this is a community who are good at keeping secrets…

Format: Hardback (400 pages)    Publisher: Aries
Publication date: 9th June 2022 Genre: Crime

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My Review

In the Acknowledgments, Lesley Thomson writes that she loves to curl up with a country-house murder mystery and so, following her own advice to her creative writing students that they write the book they’d like to read themselves, she decided to write her own version of a country-house murder mystery.

The book features a diverse cast of characters to whom the reader is introduced in short order, much in the manner of the beginning of an Agatha Christie novel such as Death on the Nile or Murder on the Orient Express. Christie fans will take pleasure in spotting a few subtle references to her novels, such as the choice of Blacklock as the name of the mansion around which much of the action centres. There are also the tried and tested elements of a classic crime novel such as a gathering of all the suspects towards the end of the book (in the library, no less). Given Elly Griffiths’ cover quote describing the book as ‘like the best of Barbara Vine and Agatha Christie’, I also loved that one of the characters (whose first name is Barbara) has a cat named Rendell.

The police procedural elements of the book are very much of the here and now, as are some of the social issues explored in the book: the proliferation of social media, loneliness, drug dependency and the targeting of the elderly and vulnerable.  You didn’t get characters in an Agatha Christie novel posting selfies on Facebook or possessing a burner phone!

When it comes to crafting the plot of a murder mystery the author knows her stuff, laying false trails, slipping in red herrings and generally leading readers up the garden path so that, like me, you’ll probably have suspected just about everyone of being the culprit by the end of the book – even Molly the owl.  I wasn’t completely sure a killer who includes children amongst their victims quite fitted with the kind of crime you associate with an Agatha Christie novel, but then of course we’re in the present day, not the 1920s and 1930s.

The Companion is a neat homage to the classic country-house murder mystery but brought bang up to date.

In three words: Intriguing, clever, absorbing

Try something similar: Snow by John Banville

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Lesley_ThomsonAbout the Author

Lesley Thomson grew up in West London. Her first novel, A Kind of Vanishing, won The People’s Book Prize in 2010. Her second novel, The Detective’s Daughter, was a #1 bestseller and the resulting series has sold over 850,000 copies. Lesley divides her time between Sussex and Gloucestershire. She lives with her partner and her dog.

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