Julia Chapman

Date With Death

"There is an edge to the writing and the wild yet beautiful scenery of the Dales is written about with a deft eye for detail..."


Samson O'Brien, after many years away, returns to his home town of Bruncliffe, in the Yorkshire Dales. He has been dismissed from the Metropolitan Police for some unspecified offence, and he awaits a chance to clear his name. In the meantime he sets up the Dales Detective Agency, (DDE) in a building owned by Delilah Metcalfe, who owns the struggling Dales Dating Agency (DDE). No love is lost between them, and not just because of the clash of initials. Delilah only rents out the premises as she needs the money. And no love is lost between Samson and most of the people of the town, who consider him to be trouble.

Samson's first case is investigating the apparent suicide of a young man who falls from a station platform and under a train. The local police think it was suicide, but the young man's parents are convinced it was murder - he was pushed. At first Samson is convinced that it was indeed suicide, but the more he investigates, the more he is convinced that the parents might be right. Three more deaths of local men lead Samson to discover a link between Delilah's dating agency and the deaths. Will Delilah's business go under due to the adverse publicity? Samson and Delilah have to work together to uncover the truth, and unmask a killer.

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This is the first in the Samson and Delilah series, the second one having already been reviewed on Crimesquad in December 2017. Though the action takes place in a small country town, this is no cosy whodunit. There is an edge to the writing and the wild yet beautiful scenery of the Dales is written about with a deft eye for detail without compromising the pace of the book. And though it's a murder mystery, there is humour as well. All in all, an intriguing crime novel, and I'll look forward to reading more about Bruncliffe. Julia Chapman is the nom de plume of Julia Stagg, author of the popular Fogas Chronicles, a series of mysteries set in the French Pyrenees. The next in the Dales detective series is 'Date With Mystery', which will be published some time in 2018.

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