I was delighted to renew my acquaintance with DCI Jim Daley and his colleagues in the current Daley mystery. This is a meaty thriller which will appeal to crime fans and, in the spirit of genre fusion, there’s a hefty dollop of World War II intrigue to tantalise aficionados of that genre too. Can it get much better? Yes, it can!!
Meyrick’s books are deceptive. You can be fooled into thinking that you’re ‘just’ reading a bog standard, enjoyable crime novel but the sub text in his books tend to stay with you for a good while after. There’s an explosive implication at the end of this book which won’t leave my head!! And I’m sorry I cannot say any more than that because I cannot risk a spoiler.
The Rat Stone Serenade scared the bejesus out of me but this latest offering was more cerebral. And at the conclusion I’m still not sure that I ‘got’ it all!! Intentionally I don’t believe all the ends were tied up but that is sort of the appeal of these books. You are required to think.
Another feature of these books is how Scotland almost becomes an additional character, part of the team almost. Meyrick clearly loves his country and allows us to do so too. And as you read it seems impossible that this chain of events could happen anywhere but within this landscape so palpably described by the author.
The plot is a complex one following a dual chronology where some characters endure in both time frames. It’s not a laid back read, you do need to pay attention for Meyrick doesn’t waste words. He uses contemporary issues alongside historical ones and shows how the past can define the present.
The fishing industry plays a prominent part in the way of an abundant red herring harvest. Secrets abound. So much so that police, Special Branch and MI5 or MI6 get involved as do the other emergency services.
Jim Daley is a dour Scot who has much to be dour about in this book but he was pretty dour in the last! I warm more to D.S. Scott with his sardonic wit and Chief Superintendent Carrie Symington. There are numerous characters in the story all with fairly pivotal parts to play demanding attentive reading. No one is quite who they seem.
It’s a entertaining and thought provoking read.In fact, I’d rather read the book than the reviews!!