I suppose it is with a mixture of excitement and trepidation that any writer approaches the first page of a new book – that’s certainly how I feel.
Though grounded within the crime genre, the problems that DCI Daley faces across the series all come from slightly different angles. In WELL OF THE WINDS, part of the novel is set during World War II, a terrifying time in the history of the world, and transformative in terms of small communities up and down the land.
Campbeltown (the inspiration for Kinloch in my books) was ideally located as a base for the Royal Navy at that time. The loch is a notoriously safe harbour: then at the very edge of the range of German bombers, with easy access to the Atlantic approaches and the great River Clyde, where naval ships were built and repaired. The town’s population almost trebled at this time, swelled by servicemen and women. It is against this background that a murder takes place, its consequences reaching across the decades to the present day.
When the postman on Gairsay – a small island just off Daley’s Kintyre patch – tries to deliver a parcel to the farm belonging to the Bremner family, he finds no reply. There are pots boiling on the stove, breakfast on the table; but of the occupants, there is no sign.
With his redoubtable sidekick DS Brian Scott and new boss Chief Superintendent Carrie Symington focusing on events on Gairsay, Daley is left to solve the wider case in Kinloch. When he comes into possession of a journal written by his wartime predecessor Inspector William Urquhart he realises that to solve the mysteries of the present, he must solve a crime from the past.
In WELL OF THE WINDS, we find the usual cast of colourful characters in Kinloch and its environs, exemplified by local sage Hamish, and formidable Annie, chatelaine of the County Hotel. They, along with the beautiful setting, bring all that fans have become used to in the Daley novels.
But, there’s a sting in the tail.
It’s strange what one picks up when researching a book. In this one an old story is unearthed, which I weave into the fictional plot. Though I cannot take credit for its discovery – it’s been in the public domain for some years – it has the power to shock. It shocked me!
Published by Polygon Books
ISBN 978 1 84697 372 7