Date with Betrayal by Julia Chapman
I’ve been a huge fan of Julia’s writing since I first fell into Fogas, the community she created in the Pyrenees, and the series of novels that brought this typical French mountain village to life. With the Dales Detective Series, the location may have changed to the wilds of the Yorkshire Dales, but Julia’s eye for detail and ability to bring a fictional community to life is still very much there. It was a real treat to receive a review copy of Date With Betrayal and find myself back with Delilah, Samson and the Bruncliffe community. This is book seven in a series that just keeps on giving.
Death is coming to Bruncliffe: its target is Samson O’Brien.
The danger that has been following Bruncliffe black sheep, Samson O’Brien since his return from London has just got closer to home and his business partner Delilah must work out who can be trusted as she attempts to protect him. In the time she has been around the disgraced Met detective, Delilah has picked up a few tips and by playing on the strengths of those around her, prepares the townsfolk to do their best against an invisible threat. What they lack in skills and experience, they make up for in grit, determination and enthusiasm.
I tried to take my time when reading this book, to savour every Yorkshire nuance and enjoy every twist and turn in the plot. I wanted to keep a clear head so I could draw my own conclusions and work out where it was taking me. However, from the first page, time took on a life of its own as I devoured chapter after chapter, barely having time to breathe.
As the events of an extraordinary day in Bruncliffe slowly play out, each minute ticking by only adding to the drama, the suspense was palpable. It is a cruel pen that makes the reader suffer alongside characters they have come to love. A small victory for the community is followed by another twist, and my heartrate rose once more, and then the next minute, I’m laughing - being in Bruncliffe has this effect on me. The combination of the attention to detail in the mannerisms and complexity of the characters and the storyline make me believe I’m there, in the pub, at the allotment or over at the Dales Detective Agency, with Tolpuddle the dog carefully keeping watch.
It was great to start to see a few loose ends and suspicions that have been with me for a few of the books begin to be explained and tied up, but this book has left plenty of questions that will play in my mind as I patiently await book eight.
This book raised my hopes, dashed them, and had me holding my breath more often than is healthy. Despite the seriousness of the threat to life, it is also hilarious in places and made me smile a lot when I was reading it. It is pure escapism from life, but be warned, if you read one book, you will want to read them all.
Date With Betrayal and all the books in The Dales Detective Series are available in paperback and ebook format, in English and in French.
Julia Chapman is the pseudonym of Julia Stagg. Julia has lived in Japan, Australia, the USA and France. She ran an auberge with her husband in the Pyrenees for six years, which inspired The Fogas Chronicles series of novels. She is now glad to call the Yorkshire Dales home, its distinctive landscape and way of life providing the setting for her latest series, the Dales Detective.
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