Source: Review copy
Publication: June 2nd 2022 from Polygon
My thanks to Denzil Meyrick and Polygon Books for an advance copy for review
The ghosts of the past will not be silenced.
Glasgow, 1983, and a beat constable walks away from a bar where he knows a crime is about to be committed. It is a decision that will haunt him for the rest of his life.
In the present, an old fisherman is found dead by Kinloch’s shoreline and a stranger with a deadly mission moves into town.
As past and present collide, D.C.I. Jim Daley must confront old friends, new foes and ghosts who will not be silenced.
June is National Crime Reading Month and tomorrow we also celebrate the publication of the 10th book in the million copy selling D.C.I. Daley series from the titan of Scottish crime fiction, Denzil Meyrick. This is a series I have really taken to my heart – so much so that I have bought it in audiobook as well as reading it from the page. I’m delighted that it is to be televised and can’t wait to see it on the screen, too.
This is a series that really does offer everything. A wonderful sense of place in the beautifully atmospheric Kinloch where there are terrific characters who leap off the page and plant themselves firmly in your heart and mind. These are people you get to know and love so that when something happens to one of them you feel the pain as if it were part of you. Tension and darkness, death and evil walk among us – mixed together with humour, light and a sense that there’s an order to this world that will not let evil prevail.
So what has Meyrick given us to celebrate his decade of Daley and Scott? It’s quite straightforward really – a brilliant blockbuster that delivers all of the above while revealing more of what lies in the past of both Brian Scott and Jim Daley and showing us how that past has come back to haunt them.
The Death of Remembrance places its emphasis on DS Brian Scott who we find still struggling with the demon drink. Indeed, there’s a kind of pall hanging over the whole of Kinloch at the moment. Since the events of the previous book, the County Hotel is a shadow of its former self. None of the locals want to drink there anymore and the new proprietor, Ian McMillan, is finding that there are not even enough passers-by to sample his new menu.
Meyrick takes us back to Brian Scott’s early days in the force and gives us glimpses into his life as a bobby on the streets and his entry into CID, showing us the pressures he was under and some of the reasons his penchant for the drink has always had such a strong hold on him.
This is harsh stuff and as ever, Meyrick mingles it with laughter as Brian’s mangling of language, seemingly not enhanced by his fine choice of reading material, creates brilliant moments of laughter amid some dark and deadly moments.
As a reader you do get a real sense of the myriad difficulties that the young Scott struggled with and of the bravery that he showed when faced with difficult choices. But now, as the narrative shifts between past and present, we have a better understanding of how much the past has influenced him and just why he and Daley have stuck together through thick and thin.
Now though, the past is coming back to haunt both men and there’s a reckoning coming. Who will be standing in the aftermath is the question we are desperate to know the answer to as we frantically turn the pages of this tense and exciting book.
As ever, the setting is rich in atmosphere and Meyrick’s portrayal of Kinloch and its people is warm and inviting as he shows us just how stupid incomers can be when they underestimate the best of Kinloch’s inhabitants.
The seeds of previous novels come to full growth in this 10th novel and for some characters it is very much a case of ‘reap what you sow’. Meyrick gives us exactly what we want – the deeply personal mixed with the professional and even as we feel for Jim Daley in his increasingly difficult marriage, we laugh at some of the more hilarious antics of Ella and Liz as a dinner party takes an unexpected turn.
The Death of Remembrance is a story that brings a number of previous threads in the series to fruition and fills in some of the blanks that we’ve all been wondering about. It’s a dark story filled with everything that makes this series so special and it gives due deference to those outstanding characters we have come to know and love. In particular, the very special Hamish shows us once again that there’s more to heaven and earth than is dreamt of in our philosophy.
Proust said that ‘Remembrance of things past is not necessarily remembrance of things as they were’, and it seems that there’s one vital piece of knowledge that has lain long forgotten and which is now back to bite our protagonists.
Verdict: The Death of Remembrance is a taut tale full of death, intensity and some startling revelations. It is a novel that fixes your attention from the beginning and keeps you fastened to the page right until the gripping, breathtaking end. I can only hope there is another decade of Daley and Scott to follow.
After studying politics, Denzil Meyrick worked as a police officer, distillery manager, freelance journalist, and company director. He is originally from Campbeltown in Argyll, but now lives with his wife Fiona on Loch Lomondside.