• On a bed of cool-toned flowers, in collage style, sits a photograph of a man in a suite dipping a woman in a teal dress, presumably in dance. They are both highly stylized to the late 1960’s early 1950’s. Along the spine of the book, sits the dials of machine, such as a lie detector. The title sits horizontally across the page, with the word “Sum” inside a display screen for the machine along the spine. Full text reads: “The Sum of One Man’s Pleasure. A novel. Danial Neil”

The Sum of One Man's Pleasure


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978-1-77439-078-8 | 2023 September | 264 Pages


1963 – Finn Kenny has fled life in Ottawa after being implicated in an RCMP purge of suspected Communist sympathisers and homosexuals. He ends up on Vancouver Island working as a groundskeeper. Theodore Spencer, owner of Spencerwood Industries, is Finn’s saviour, having offered him a job and a home at Finn's lowest moment. When Spencer dies unexpectedly, Finn’s life is turned upside down once again as Lady Katherine, Spencer's widow, ascends to power.

Thrown together by grief and suspicion, Finn and Lady Spencer must overcome their mutual dislike to keep Spencerwood Industries solvent. With the help of Percival and Birdie Bishop, the Spencerwood estate's caretakers, they discover that everyone holds secrets at the core of themselves.

In his searching sixth novel, Danial Neil examines the stories we make of our own lives, the versions of ourselves we show to those closest to us, and the ways we find common ground in this world.

“Danial Neil, a master storyteller, embraces the mysterious and the unpredictable. Through a host of characters who appear fated to destroy the lives of others, not to mention their own, he weaves several compelling plots into a tapestry of small-town Vancouver Island life.”
— Ron Smith, author of Improbable Journeys and The Defiant Mind

“I think this was Danial Neil's best yet...Excellent characters, excellent story...I completely recommend for a very satisfying reading experience.”
Literary Hoarders (full review)