Wednesday 18 May 2022

Guest Review: Date With Betrayal by Julia Chapman

In the seventh novel in Julia Chapman’s Dales Detective series, Date with Betrayal, betrayal is rife in the idyllic Yorkshire Dales as Samson O’Brien, owner of the Dales Detective Agency, is targeted by a hitman. Can Bruncliffe save him? 

Death is coming to Bruncliffe: its target is Samson O’Brien.

Oblivious to his impending date with fate, Samson is busy juggling a number of cases at the Dales Detective Agency. Too busy, in fact, to notice his partner behaving oddly.

Because Delilah Metcalfe knows what is coming. A hitman. Sent from London with one objective: to finally silence the troublesome O’Brien before his corruption case can make it to court.

With Samson’s life in peril, and betrayal around every corner, Delilah has no choice but to call in favours from all of her Bruncliffe connections in order to counteract the menace threatening to engulf the Dales town.

The only trouble is the townsfolk have long memories and deep grievances when it comes to Samson O’Brien. Trust must be earned and they will take some convincing before they put themselves in danger in order to save him.

And even then, it might not prove enough . . .

Review: This is the seventh book in the Dales Detective Series set in the glorious Yorkshire Dales and featuring suspended police officer Samson O’Brien and Delilah Metcalfe who runs the local dating agency. The pair share offices in the town of Bruncliffe where they investigate cases referred to the Dales Detective Agency, ably assisted by Delilah’s faithful Weimaraner Tolpuddle. At the beginning of the book, the author has helpfully included a map of Bruncliffe showing places that feature in these stories. Although this is a series, each book can be read as a standalone, but I have enjoyed reading each one in order as they have been released. I have, in fact, listened to the audiobook in most cases, and always enjoy the narration from Elizabeth Bower.

There has been a thread running through each book connected with Samson’s suspension from the police force and his impending corruption case, suggesting that someone doesn’t want him giving evidence in court. All this comes to a head in this story, when Delilah is tipped off that a hitman is on his way to kill Samson. She decides to take matters into her own hands and rally the townspeople to protect the detective while he is completely oblivious and hard at work on other cases. The only problem for Delilah is that there is some ill feeling against Samson connected with the way in which he left the town many years ago. Somehow, she must find a way to convince people to help her. In the end, help in this matter comes from an unexpected source and an elaborate chain of events is established to identify and deal with the hitman when he turns up. Will this be enough to save Samson from this unknown assassin?

I have loved all of the stories in the Dales Detective Series, but I would have to say that I consider this the best so far. The tension kept me on the edge of my seat while some of the antics of the townspeople had me laughing out loud. What skilled writing to combine the comedy with the drama in this way. As always, I have enjoyed meeting the recurring characters in this series. They are the usual mix that you might typically find in a small town in the Yorkshire Dales, with their dry humour and no-nonsense approach to life. I am already looking forward to the next book in the series; there are hints here as to what Samson and Delilah will be investigating next.

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