A Letter to Readers from Denzil, on publication of No Sweet Sorrow


No Sweet Sorrow

And before you know it, it’s time for DCI Daley 11, No Sweet Sorrow.

We find that a more reflective mood has descended upon Kinloch. Jim Daley and Brian Scott are part of a nationwide fight to defeat the distribution of Fentanyl, Ketamine and other super drugs that have made their way across the Atlantic to blight lives. Though how to do it, isn’t clear.

The drugs are cheap and widely available. And despite the best efforts of Daley and his team, they are becoming a problem in Kinloch and the rest of the peninsula. It’s the big man’s job to find the source and stop it before the tragedy of death and despair takes hold. But it’s fair to say, as the book begins, the police are miles away from this goal.

Brian Scott has been wrestling his demons, and it’s working. He’s on tea and ginger beer. But he must finally conquer his fear of boats before it conquers him. To help matters along, his formidable wife and inseparable partner Ella, has found herself a job behind the bar in the new, community-owned County Hotel. She has big shoes to fill. And with Christmas on the horizon, she’s doing her best to raise the fortunes of one of Kinloch’s institutions.

Hamish is unsettled. He knows that keeping just a few lobster pots out in the sound is becoming too much. What will he do? Perhaps a change is a good as rest – but what kind of change? As the venerable fisherman ponders his future, he experiences dreadful dreams and premonitions. Are these harbingers of doom or merely the meanderings of an old man’s mind?

Jim Daley himself is feeling the strain. He’s developed a bad back, so the local clinicians prescribe opiates to deal with the pain. Is there a danger that the local DCI will become addicted to the very drugs that are being illegally traded on his patch?

Liz feels helpless, as her husband suffers. She finds that coming to the aid of others may be a way to give her life meaning. Though, when one of her husband’s colleagues shares a secret, she’s shocked to the core.

When a student mountaineering club from Oxford appear in Kinloch, things begin to unravel. Both Daley and Scott face a choice between the sticking to the rulebook or fighting evil. It’s a conundrum as old as humanity itself, everything depends on their decisions.

This is the moral dilemma that marks out No Sweet Sorrow as one of the darkest DCI Daley thrillers to date.

As always, it’s a pleasure to spend time with these characters in the wonderful setting of Kintyre. Over the years, Daley, Scott, Hamish, Liz, Ella, et al have become so real they are like old friends.

I hope you feel the same.

There are different days ahead – new, exciting times. I hope you can all walk with me along the way.

I leave you with the poem by Robert Frost, part of which I use as the epigraph to the book, plus a little reflection at the end.

Here’s an extract. Make of it what you will.

*From Robert Frost’s Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

‘The woods are lovely, dark and deep,

But I have promises to keep,

And miles to go before I sleep,

And miles to go before I sleep.’