Wednesday, 22 April 2020

Guest Review: Date with Danger by Julia Chapman

Julia Chapman's fifth Dales Detectives Agency novel, Date With Danger, sees our intrepid leads Samson and Delilah on the trail of a sheep rustler turned killer. Perfect for fans of M.C. Beaton and Gervase Phinn.
In the heart of Yorkshire, the Dales Detective Agency is about to face its biggest challenge.
A fatal accident at Bruncliffe’s livestock auction mart leads auctioneer Harry Furness to call in detective duo Samson O’Brien and Delilah Metcalfe, but what starts as a simple health-and-safety investigation soon takes a sinister turn when they discover evidence that suggests murder.
With their enquiries ongoing, Clive Knowles approaches them for help – his sheep are being threatened by the gang of rustlers that is plaguing the Dales. Meanwhile, Poacher Pete Ferris has also decided to play his hand, setting in motion a blackmail plot which will ensure Samson is pulled back into trouble with his nemesis Rick Procter.
With all three cases converging, Samson and Delilah will find that their latest investigation is fraught with danger; a danger that will leave them fighting for their lives.




Review: This is the fifth book in the Dales Detective series by Julia Chapman, following the adventures of Samson O’Brien and Delilah Metcalfe, proprietors of the Dales Detective Agency and the Dales Dating Agency, respectively. All the books in this series are set in the glorious Yorkshire Dales, where the fictional town of Bruncliffe can be found surrounded by rugged and beautiful terrain. I am always struck by how cleverly the covers of these books have been designed to give snapshots of the story within. As with the other volumes in this series, this story can be read as a stand-alone.

This story begins with what appears to be a horrible accident at Bruncliffe’s auction mart that leads to the death of one of the long-time employees. However, suspicion that this may not have been an accident at all leads to Samson and Delilah being called in to investigate. Their inquiries uncover far more than anyone expected, culminating in a very dangerous situation for the pair. Luckily, Delilah’s gorgeous Weimaraner Tolpuddle is on hand to watch over them. Meanwhile, local property developer, Rick Procter, who has crossed swords with Samson on more than one occasion is up to no good yet again with serious results for another familiar character.

As a confirmed fan of this series, I was not surprised to find myself quickly immersed in this story, finishing it in no time. As with previous parts, I was struck by the vivid descriptions of the Yorkshire scenery which always fire the imagination. This story was particularly exciting, with protagonists playing for high stakes, making for ruthless actions. I liked the way that Julia Chapman, through her skilful writing, gradually built the tension as the story progressed; I really couldn’t predict how it was going to end. I also enjoyed the closeness developing between the two principal characters now that they are working together; I’m hoping that this will continue in subsequent books. However, concern that events from Samson’s past might endanger Delilah could keep them apart. I’m hoping that a sixth book in the series is in the pipeline and may hold some answers. This is most definitely a book that I would recommend for all sorts of readers. In fact, if you haven’t read others in the series, why not read them all?


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