Wednesday 5 June 2024

Guest Review: Date with Justice by Julia Chapman

The Dales Detective Agency is on the brink of closure.

Samson O’Brien has returned to his position as an undercover operative for the Met in London, and his relationship with sleuthing partner Delilah Metcalfe is under pressure.

Their troubles are only multiplied when an ecologist is found dead and the finger of blame is pointed firmly at Delilah’s older brother, Will.

It seems an open and shut case. An argument over an ecology report for planning permission which got out of hand, with Will known to have a hot temper. But Delilah won’t accept he’s guilty and neither will Samson.

Dropping everything, he returns to Bruncliffe to help prove Will’s innocence. But as the two detectives start digging, they unearth more than they bargained for and soon realize that the price of justice can be very costly indeed.

This is the ninth book in Julia Chapman’s Dales Detective series, which is set in the beautiful Yorkshire dales. The books follow the fortunes of the Dales Detective Agency, run by Samson O’Brien and Delilah Metcalfe in the small market town of Bruncliffe. Delilah also runs the Dales Dating Agency. I have been following this series from the start and have loved reading about Samson and Delilah’s exploits as well as getting to know the locals in the town, with their many and often amusing foibles. Each book can easily be read as a standalone, but they make a wonderful collection when read in order.

In this story, the detective agency is struggling. Samson has returned to his job working undercover for the Metropolitan police in London and his working patterns are making his long distance relationship with Delilah somewhat strained. He is seriously considering whether to make a permanent move back to his home in Bruncliffe. However, when Delilah’s brother, Will, is accused of murder, Samson drops everything to hurry north and work on the case. It soon becomes apparent that clearing Will of the crime may well implicate someone else who Samson and Delilah consider a friend.

I have thoroughly enjoyed this ninth instalment in this series and can recommend it to lovers of cosy crime and/or the Yorkshire dales. This was quite a mystery, so well written that I struggled to solve it just as much as Samson and Delilah. As usual, the pair were assisted by the people of Bruncliffe and, of course, Delilah’s faithful hound Tolpuddle the Weimaraner. It has been rewarding watching the relationship between Samson and Delilah grow as this series has progressed, waiting with anticipation for each new book to be released. I felt for Samson in this story, as he struggled to make a decision on his future with so many factors to consider.

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