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Date With Death
Dales Detective Series – Book I
Julia Chapman

Pan (Macmillan UK)
9 March 2017/ ISBN 9781509823833

Reviewed by Rachel A Hyde


Samson O’Brien left his hometown of Bruncliffe in the Yorkshire Dales years ago to become a policeman. Working undercover in London something went wrong, and now he is suspended pending inquiries and back home. But he left under a cloud and people don’t want him back; they don’t see the need for a detective agency either. Meanwhile Delilah Metcalfe is trying to keep her dating agency business running and unwittingly takes Samson on as her tenant. Soon he is busy, as a local man’s mother wants him to prove that her son did not commit suicide. Delilah worries why the dead man is the second of her clients to die, but not the last…

This is the first in a new series of cozy mysteries set in the Yorkshire Dales and centering on the improbably named Samson and Delilah. The author shows some insight into what makes Yorkshire and its people special and this is the sort of book that would make a good TV series. It takes its time to get going and you get to meet quite a few people all at once; a cast list at the front would be helpful. The mystery part mostly happens in the last half of the book and the rest is filled with relationships between characters, events like the darts match and other minutiae of rural daily life. This makes it rather slow for a mystery but ideal for anybody who wants to read about everybody’s idea of cozy rural life. The mystery is wrapped up but the author wisely leaves plenty of other loose ends to make the reading of the second book (out this autumn) more enticing. A spot of editing and more emphasis on the detecting would make mystery readers happier but anybody who enjoys a fairly gentle and idealized look at small town life will like this one.

Reviews of other titles in this series

Date with Death #1
Date with Malice #2

Reviewed 2017