It’s been a strange time; but I guess we all think that.
For me, this meant no more book signings, festivals, visits to newspapers, TV and radio studios, etc., or meetings – well, at least not in person as far as the latter is concerned.No overnight trips to Germany to appear on stage, or the proposed business (and more than a wee bit of leisure) trip to the USA we had been looking forward to so much.
But we were lucky.
Living in a beautiful village with Loch Lomond on our doorstep, this was lockdown at its most tolerable. Once Fiona and I got used to the fact that we weren’t going anywhere, we began to count our blessings and pray for those who were caught up in the horrors of Covid-19. There is no doubt that the whole world has faced such terrible suffering, and though there has been much progress, so much has yet to be achieved.
If anything, surely the monumental tragedy of this pandemic must prompt us to look at the world differently. It doesn’t matter who you are, where you’re from, how rich or poor you are, what colour, creed, gender, religion or none at all – the virus can find you. And bearing in mind the enormous existential challenges this planet faces, the pandemic must serve as a timely warning to us all.
My heart goes out to all those who have suffered so much through a time many of us never thought we’d never see.
The woods are lovely dark and deep . . .
Coincidentally, in January of 2020, I began work on a new project, Terms of Restitution, a gangster novel set in Paisley and London. As any of you who have heard me ramble on at festivals, in the media or on my socials will know, I’m a huge fan of The Sopranos, the ground-breaking HBO show that changed the face of TV. No wonder the beautifully crafted drama has become the most watched show on global TV during lockdown.
Jim Daley, Brian Scott, Hamish, et al owe much to the gangsters of New Jersey – but with this new book, I thought I’d make the connection more obvious. Although Terms of Restitution is no mere homage, I thought it would be interesting to re-imagine a gangland family like Tony’s clan in Scotland. I had no idea what the novel would be about until I sat down at the keyboard. The result, I hope, is not the one-dimensional bad people always do bad things representations of criminals that we see so often in literature and on the screen, but something more authentic – subtle – while remaining thrilling and darkly humorous.
I hope you’ll enjoy the end result!
With nothing else to do, I finished Terms of Restitution in little over two months. Then it was time for another new – well sort of new – project.
In 2019, just as my lovely agent Jo Bell and I were negotiating a new six book deal with my publisher Polygon, managing director Hugh Andrew wondered about more short stories. Though I enjoy writing fiction in the shorter form, it has its limitations. Short stories usually see the light of day as e-book only offerings these days, only appearing in print in collected anthologies like my One Last Dram Before Midnight.
But Hugh came up with something new.
I’d been delighted by the response to my novella Empty Nets and Promises, set in 1960s Kinloch and featuring a young Hamish from the Daley books. Everyone took to Sandy Hoynes, skipper of the Girl Maggie and loveable rogue. Hugh wondered if I would write more of these, only this time to be published as a special edition hardback, e-book and audiobook.
As things turned out, by the time A Large Measure of Snow was published the nation was in need of a bit of cheer. It was lovely to be sent so many messages by readers who’d laughed at the antics of Hoynes and his first mate Hamish, and told me that the book had helped them cope. Very humbling.
The Scotsman said, ‘The poetic dialogue is beautifully rendered . . . it sings with the evocation of time, place, people and humour. . .’ They liked it so much they made it one of their Books of the Year 2020.
I’ve just finished work on the next novella in this series, A Toast to the Old Stones. You can rely on Hoynes’s talent for finding trouble; this time during the Kinloch fishermen’s annual pilgrimage to the Auld Stones to mark the old New Year on 12 January. I’ve just finished it, and hope you’ll like it, not least because of the beautiful presentation of the special edition hardback and wonderful cover illustrations by Abi Salvesen.
A Toast to the Old Stones will be out in October. The perfect festive gift, if I say so myself.
Now back to Kinloch for the ninth DCI Daley thriller.
I finished this in October last year, the third book I’d set about during lockdown.
For those of you familiar with the series, For Any Other Truth plays out against a broad canvass, featuring retired terrorists, extreme climate activists and the Security Services. When a light aircraft crash lands at Machrie airport, Daley and Scott head to the scene. But it soon becomes clear that the only occupants of the plane were dead long before the plane took off.
‘We’ll be flying at a height of fifteen feet then crashing intae a fence,’ says Brian Scott somewhat unhelpfully, as he imagines boarding a holiday flight facing similar consequences.
Get ready for an emotional rollercoaster, as Daley and the team try to find the truth that lies somewhere. But in the end, they could wish for another truth.
For Any Other Truth is out on 3 June and available to pre-order across platforms now.
I’m very proud of this book. It’s certainly the most emotional I’ve written to date. Have your hankies at the ready!
2021 brings more interesting projects, which I’ll discuss here very soon. Some of them might surprise you!
Keep your eyes peeled for a Q&A in the next few days. Questions have been sent in by folk from across my social media platforms – some quite quirky. Also, to celebrate the publication of For Any Other Truth, we’re busy making a little film with the help of magnificent Kintyre photographer Raymond Hosie. So, to take a look at Kinloch and some of the locations of the books with me babbling in the background, keep it here!
See you all soon and stay well!
Who is Denzil Meyrick?
Denzil Meyrick was educated in Argyll, then after studying politics, joined Strathclyde Police, serving in Glasgow. After being injured and developing back problems, he entered the business world, and has operated in many diverse roles, including director of a large engineering company and distillery manager, as well as owning a number of his own companies, such as a public bar and sales and marketing company. D. A. Meyrick has also worked as a freelance journalist in both print and on radio. His first novel, Whisky from Small Glasses, was published in 2012.