Today I’m sharing my thoughts on Whisky From Small Glasses by Denzil Meyrick, book one in the DCI Daley series. I first listened to this audiobook about three years ago, but decided on a bit of a refresh. Not only that, but I decided to have a spot of a Denzil Meyrick listenathon as I made my way through the entire DCI Daley collection, including the side series of Tales from Kinloch. Over the next few weeks I’ll hopefully be sharing my thoughts on all of the books, but there’s no better place to start than at the beginning. Here’s what the book is all about:
About the Book
D.C.I. Jim Daley is sent from the city to investigate a murder after the body of a woman is washed up on an idyllic beach on the West Coast of Scotland. Far away from urban resources, he finds himself a stranger in a close-knit community.
Love, betrayal, fear and death stalk the small town, as Daley investigates a case that becomes more deadly than he could possibly imagine, in this compelling novel infused with intrigue and dark humour.
I always see the pictures of the west coast of Scotland, the beautiful and remote beaches, the small fishing communities, the rugged landscape, and think how tranquil it all looks. Well, not in the hands of Denzil Meyrick it’s not. In fact, on a crime per capita basis, I’d say that DCI Jim Daley and DS Brian Scott are facing a whole heap more danger on in Kinloch than on the streets of Glasgow. Sent over to the quaint sounding fishing community to help investigate a murder, they are not remotely prepared for all that they are about to face. Neither are readers really. Whatever you are expecting, you’d best don those emergency life jackets. We’re about to enter some very turbulent waters.
This is a story which completely took me by surprise. Murder, drug dealing and other assorted ills are all happening right under the noses of the local constabulary, but all of it is about to come to a head in quite dramatic fashion. In a special blend of high action, tense investigations and the slower more tranquil pace of life of Kinloch, Denzil Meyrick serves up a story which will amuse as much as it will shock, and which will cast suspicion one a wide number of different characters, misdirecting us all from what should be more than obvious. There are so many dark and twisted moments in the story that will have your heart in your mouth, including the high stakes, adrenalin pumping showdown at the end, but for every moment of shock you’ll find yourself chortling along and quickly falling in love with Kinloch and all its residents, old and new.
As an introduction to the world of Daley and Scott, the author quickly establishes the characters, both the hierarchy in the team and also the undeniable friendship between them. Denzil Meyrick is adept at creating characters with voices so unique and yet so authentic that it is hard not to like them almost immediately. Daley is slightly jaded, his years of service and some clear internal conflict with the powers that be dulling the sheen you feel he may have once had, but there is no denying his passion for upholding the law. He is straight talking, focused and very astute, but there is something very human and relatable about him that made me take to him straight off the bat. As for Brian Scott, he has an inability to take anything seriously, a taste for the odd tipple or two, and a hilarious aptitude for the use of malapropism, which he may be oblivious to but which lead to many amusing moments for readers, even if somewhat frustrating for family and friends. Between them they make a perfect Detective pairing. Keen, intelligent, determined and everything you would want in a crime novel.
I loved the pacing of this, the use of colloquialisms and the Scottish vernacular. It adds a layer of authenticity to the tale that is often missing in stories which are overly watered down for the more english focused reader. Yes, it can take a sentence or two to settle into the lingo, but when you know, you know and converting a Brianism, really doesn’t prove too much of a challenge. But above and beyond this, it is the way in which the author establishes the broader community of Kinloch which really captured my imagination. From landlady extraordinaire, Annie, to overly keen Detective Constable Archie Fraser, determined to make his mark after a rather unfortunate incident with the body on the beach (hilariously and inappropriately funny I might add) right at the start of the book, to Kinloch stalwart and self confessed seer, Hamish, we are treated to a collective who made me smile, laugh, and feel right at home. I was invested in them all right from the first meeting. The fishing village is really brought to life – the sights and the sounds – and whilst certain scenes may have been a touch emotional and definitely shocking, we’re not left to stay maudlin for long. There’s far too much going on.
I am very glad I’ve not had to wait to read the next books in the series. Gritty, witty, and full of action and intrigue, it’s a brilliant start to the Daley and Scott series and got me well and truly hooked.
About 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.
Beginning with Whisky from Small Glasses, then The Last Witness, Dark Suits and Sad Songs, The Rat Stone Serenade, and Well of the Winds, the DCI Daley series have all become Scottish Crime bestsellers. Whisky from Small Glasses reached #2 in the UK Kindle store in 2016.
An anthology of short stories, One Last Dram was published in late 2017.
The Daley series to date have all been number one bestselling UK audiobooks on Audible. DCI Daley #6 The Relentless Tide and #7 A Breath on Dying Embers one of the Scotsman newspaper’s books of 2018 and 2019. A Breath On Dying Embers was longlisted for the 2019 McIlvanney Prize.