A Breath on Dying Embers (DCI Daley) by Denzil Meyrick
|A Breath on Dying Embers (DCI Daley) by Denzil Meyrick|
|Reviewer: Sue Magee|
|Summary: The seventh book in the DCI Daley series started more like comedy but quickly turned into a well-plotted police procedural. It will read as a standalone, but be warned, there's one helluva cliffhanger at the end.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 400||Date: July 2019|
|External links: Author's website|
Few government trade missions arrive by luxury liner, but the cruise ship Great Britain is berthed in Kinloch harbour and on board are high-powered international delegates. It's hard to avoid the suspicion that it's not entirely about work as the billionaires, entrepreneurs and their civil service minders tour the country, golfing and sightseeing with their entourage of security personnel. It's an event which DCI Daley hopes will pass quickly, particularly as his formal uniform is far too tight for comfort, but it's not long before one of the crew members and a local bird watcher go missing.
Followers of the DCI Daley series will recognise a lot of the regulars as they start reading. Daley's health is deteriorating, largely because of his lifestyle choices, but DS Brian Scott is still off the booze, for which his wife, Ella, and his colleagues are particularly thankful. The regulars are still in the bar, but the upset is going to come from Daley's estranged wife, Liz, who arrives with their son James. Daley and Scott can recognise an abused woman when they see one, but Liz is determined not to make an official complaint about who did this to her.
In the early chapters of the book I did wonder if I was going to enjoy it, as much of it seemed more like comedy than the serious police procedural which I was expecting. It did improve though and I soon settled into a more than decent plot with some neat twists. I did spot 'whodunnit' but it was more by a process of elimination than logical reasoning. It didn't spoil my enjoyment of the book though and there were still one or two twists which I hadn't spotted. Despite my early misgivings the book turned into a good read.
The location of Kinloch is fictional, but it's hard to avoid placing the town in south-east Scotland. There's a feeling of proximity to Glasgow, but there's little empathy with the residents of the city: this is the sort of isolated area which means that a trip to hospital regularly means a helicopter or a plane if there's not that much hurry. It's a pleasant contrast with some of the busier parts of Scotland which I've read about recently.
As well as reading the book I listened to an audio download narrated by Douglas Monteith, which I bought myself. I'd just been listening to Steve Worsley narrating a story set in Aberdeen and to begin with I found the contrast a little stark, but Monteith grows on you and I quickly came to appreciate his range of voices (stronger on the male side, but that's a minor quibble) and ear for the local dialect which he managed to make sound incomprehensible whilst still conveying the meaning. It was a good listen, and I'd happily come back to him.
The book would read reasonably well as a standalone but you will get more out of it if you've read at least some of the earlier books in the series. There's a list of them below:
Be warned - there's one heluva cliffhanger at the end of this book - you're going to have to read book eight to find out what happens.
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