‘Empty Nets and Promises,’ by Denzil Meyrick

Empty Nets and Promises

Author Denzil Meyrick takes a semi-departure from his series of Jim Daley novels to conduct us back in time in the same location as those books – the picturesque Kintyre village of Kinloch, Scotland. The year is 1968, and Empty Nets and Promises offers only one of the regular cast of characters – Hamish the drunken fisherman with the second sight, a man in his prime at the time of this story.

Hamish, first mate on a fishing boat, is concerned like all his friends about the bad catches that year. Never have they taken so few herring in any man’s memory. He and his friends have a theory as to the cause – it’s the supersonic test flights coming from a nearby Air Force base. It’s Hamish himself who comes up with a “brilliant” plan to stop the tests, which involves getting a couple pilots drunk and taking them away to a remote croft so they’ll be AWOL.

Well, it makes sense to them.

But they don’t reckon with the local fisheries inspector, who suspects them of smuggling whisky, and the skipper’s wife and daughter, who suspect them of planning to play a trick on the daughter’s fiancé on the eve of the upcoming wedding.

What follows is an amusing comedy of errors that almost leads to nuclear war.

Empty Nets and Promises is a funny story, full of vivid, idiosyncratic characters and well-painted landscapes. It’s somewhere between a short story and a novella, and good value for your book-buying dollar at the price. Minor cautions for language.

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