Wednesday 12 April 2023

Guest Review: Date with Evil by Julia Chapman

Evil is stalking the streets of Bruncliffe . . .

From stolen washing to inheritance investigations, Bruncliffe’s Dales Detective Agency is being inundated with cases.

But with Samson O’Brien still in London helping the Met Police clear his name, and the newly appointed member of the investigations team, Ida Capstick, distracted by her brother George’s insistence that their farm is haunted, Delilah Metcalfe is struggling to meet the mounting demands for the agency’s services.

So when the mother of a local estate agent arrives at the offices insisting her son is missing, Delilah is relieved to have Samson return to help.

Little do the detective duo know that several of their cases are about to collide, as what appears to be a simple matter of identifying the whereabouts of the missing man becomes something far more sinister.

Something that will finally expose the network of evil which has been infiltrating the Dales town over the past decade, and in doing so place Delilah in the utmost danger.

Review: This is the eighth book in the Dales Detective series of books by Julia Chapman. The stories are all set in the Yorkshire Dales, in and around the fictional town of Bruncliffe. They feature the activities of detective Samson O’Brien and his business partner Delilah Metcalfe, who also runs the Dales Dating Agency. There is an ongoing storyline running through the series, but each book can still be read as a stand-alone. However, they do make a great story if read in sequence. This book also features a map of Bruncliffe at the beginning, which makes a great reference point while reading the text. In common with the rest of the books in the series, this one has an eye-catching cover featuring a scene connected with the story within.

The story picks up where the previous one in the series, Date with Betrayal, ended. Both the detective agency and the dating agency have more than enough business, and they are in dire need of some extra staff. Friend and cleaner Ida Capstick has stepped up to the mark and is showing herself to be a budding detective. However, she is worried about her brother, George, who is acting strangely, even for him. One of their new cases involves the disappearance of a young local estate agent - did he go of his own accord or is there something more sinister going on? When Delilah realises that most of their cases are in fact linked, the detectives begin to worry that their peaceful little town may be a hub for something serious, even downright dangerous.

It was so good to be back in the lives of Samson and Delilah, and, of course, Tolpuddle the Weimaraner. This story was filled with danger and intrigue, offset by witty interludes, mainly from the elderly residents of the local care home. There was also the promise that, after some false starts, romance may just be blossoming for the detective duo. The story deals in part with the very serious issue of human trafficking, something that is all too present, even in apparently isolated locations such as Bruncliffe. I was pleased to find that the great sense of community was still present in the town, everyone pulling together when it mattered. I can recommend this book and the series to other readers who enjoy a mystery and I am already looking forward to the next title.

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