Posted 20 hours ago

Date with Justice: 9 (The Dales Detective Series, 9)

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In the seventh novel in Julia Chapman's charming 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. Item despatched quickly and as described, but damaged in transit due to plastic wrap packaging being inadequate protection.

Shepherd shows up at the Dales Detective Agency one morning in December, convinced that somebody is trying to kill her, and Samson dismisses all her fears as only the ramblings of one confused old lady. Nevertheless, this makes for an easy read and definitely had me on the edge of my seat towards the end. To date, Saffron Cherry has created and produced The Madame Blanc Mysteries for Channel 5 and Acorn TV (a co-production with Clapperboard), the double award winning The World According to Grandpa for Channel 5’s Milkshake! Qu'est-ce que je l'ai attendu ce dénouement, que les problèmes qui gangrènent Bruncliffe arrivent enfin à leur terme ! When Mrs Shepherd arrives at the Dales Detective Agency on a December morning, quite convinced that someone is trying to kill her, Samson O’Brien dismisses her fears as the ramblings of a confused elderly lady.

Investigating the murder of a senior official, they are soon up against more than they bargained for! I thoroughly enjoyed Date with Evil, which is an amusing cosy with a sharp edge that doesn’t shy away from the worst in human nature. Instead Samson and Delilah focus on issues that genuinely affect those who live in the countryside, all set against the magnificence of the fells and the limestone outcrops that dominate the landscape.

Delilah, along with Samson O’Brien, begin to investigate what appears to be a straightforward case little realising that several of their cases are about to collide and enter more sinister territory. Groundhog Day meets Agatha Christie, it's a rollicking, jumbled up, mishmash of a time-travelling, body-hopping murder mystery that leaves the reader as puzzled as Aiden, the man tasked with identifying Evelyn's murderer. While Samson and Delilah combine resources once more, before too long they have become embroiled in untangling this mystery which has lain at the town’s core for decades. At the same time, Delilah Metcalfe struggles to hang onto her business: the Dales Dating Agency above water and attempting to control Tolpuddle, her wayward Weimaraner pooch.

All of the elements of a standard cosy crime novel are present in this latest instalment of the Dales Detective. The series stars Delilah Metcalfe, who is a young woman that makes a living while running a dating agency.

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