Whiskey from Small Glasses

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by Denzil Meyrick

When a young woman’s decomposing body comes to shore near Kinloch, on the western coast of Scotland, Detective Inspector (DI) Jim Daley is dispatched from Glasgow to take charge of the investigation.

By the end of this book, Daley has first been promoted, then solved four murders, arrested a violent serial killer, initiated the arrest of the police subdivision commander for the area, told off his pompous boss, broken up a drug ring and saved his failing marriage.

The British television series “Midsomer Murders” comes to mind. Both feature a DCI working in a small, close knit town with a per capita murder rate that in real life would make it an international sensation.

Oh, alright! There are some things to like about WHISKEY FROM SMALL GLASSES. DCI Daley, 43, is a flawed man, aware of his own quick temper and growing paunch.  He’s madly in love with his beautiful wife, Liz, despite her excessive love of shopping and the fancy life and her many flirtations with unsuitable men (including her brother-in-law).

Daley’s assistant, Detective Sergeant (DS) Brian Scott, is down-to-earth, blunt and quick-witted. He drinks too much and complains about his wife, but he’s loyal to Daley and is a perceptive detective.

The setting is spectacular as well. The fictitious town of Kinloch is based on Campbeltown, on the Kintyre peninsula where author Denzil Meyrick lives. Just 12 miles from Ireland, the town sits near where a loch joins the Atlantic Ocean, giving it moody weather alternating with brilliant sunshine. As described by Meyrick, Kinloch’s citizens are cheerful busybodies who seem able to finish Daley’s sentences before he can.

On the other hand, a number of things just don’t hang together well in this story. In such a gossip-riddled place, why don’t the residents help Daley find the serial killer or the local drug lords? And how does Daley solve his long-standing marital problems with some drinks, dinner and a passionate tumble into bed?

Meyrick is equally unbelievable with Daley’s supervisor, Superintendent John Donald, who starts his career as “a foul-mouthed, overweight philistine.” He makes a Cinderella-like transformation by giving up the drink, taking up sports, going to college and becoming “as notorious for his self-seeking ruthlessness as he was respected for being a mediocre police officer who had transformed himself into a truly talented administrator and political mover.”

Yet when the exhausted and frustrated Daley tells Donald what he thinks of him, Donald does almost nothing to reprimand him. (There are hints at the end of the book that Donald is not a man to underestimate . . .)

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The Author: Denzil Meyrick (1965 – )

Denzil Meyrick served first as a police officer with the Strathclyde Police in Glasgow until a back injury forced him to leave the force. He went into business and held a variety of jobs including  managing the Springbank Distillery in Campbeltown, Argyll, and running a pub before becoming a full-time crime fiction writer in 2012.

He lives on Loch Lomondside, Scotland, with his wife and family.


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