Book Review: Date with Death by Julia Chapman

Date with Death
Julia Chapman

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

If you’re looking for a cozy mystery to read during the holidays, take a look at Date with Death by Julia Chapman. Set in England in the Yorkshire Dales, it’s the first in the Dales Detective series in which the author introduces Samson O’Brien, Delilah Metcalf and a host of characters who live in the small town/village of Bruncliffe. Bruncliffe is the type of place where everyone knows everyone’s business, and has strong opinions about all things, giving the setting a colorful backdrop.

The story opens with Richard Hargreaves’ murder on the tracks of the local train station as well as Samson’s return to Bruncliffe after a fourteen-year absence. There’s a lot of beef between Samson and the people in town as well as a mystery behind why he’s back from a top detective position in London. Samson’s boss has advised him to lie low until gross misconduct charges against him have been settled.

Romantic tension develops right away between Samson and Delilah when Samson sets up the Dales Detective Agency downstairs from Delilah’s business, the struggling Dales Dating Agency. Richard’s mother soon hires Samson to investigate her son’s murder, whose death has been declared a suicide. She’s certain Richard didn’t kill himself, that he was on the upswing after a tough divorce and happy over a love prospect he connected with through Delilah’s dating agency.

To Delilah’s horror, more of her clients meet mysterious deaths and it’s a race against time to clear the connection and keep others safe. Not surprisingly, Delilah helps Samson with his investigation.

Readers meet many of the town’s residents, including Delilah’s family and get to know their back stories and quirky characteristics. Some act suspiciously, suggesting a possible connection to the murders and the mystery of who is the killer takes many twists before the finish.

Many relationship questions remain at the end, including the simmering interest between Samson and Delilah and readers will need to dig into the next ones to see where they lead.

I enjoyed this story, though cozy mysteries are not my favorite genre. My mystery group thought it was great, however, so take that as a recommendation too. Although close to 400 pages, it was a fast read and entertaining to read during the hectic holiday times.

Thanks for visiting – come back soon!

12 thoughts on “Book Review: Date with Death by Julia Chapman

    1. That’s true – and as I said, though it’s not my favorite genre, I do appreciate the place it fills in reading tastes. This is a good time to read a light book! Thank you for reading and commenting 🙂

  1. Reblogged this on Buried Under Books and commented:
    I’m not familiar with Julia Chapman but I have been entranced with the Yorkshire Dales ever since my first visit way too many years ago. Thank you, Book Club Mom, for tipping me off to this series!

    1. Thank you for the visit and reblog, Leila! 🙂 Our mystery book club looked up the Yorkshire Dales and loved the pictures – looks like a beautiful place 🙂

    1. Well I know…But it does seem to fit with the genre. There are so many titles in the cozy mystery genre that play on words and stories that play on concepts. I think readers expect that. I didn’t remember much about the actual story of Samson and Delilah but ultimately, Deliliah betrays Samson – I guess that will come in later books in the series. Thank you for reading and commenting, Davida. As I mentioned, it’s not my favorite genre, but it was an enjoyable read and checked off all the boxes on a good cozy!

      1. Seems to me that these days “cozy” has become synonymous with “cutesy,” which I find objectionable. Maybe because it feels like they try way too hard to be cute and clever with these types of puns and references.

      2. That’s true – I guess it doesn’t bother me that much though. I also don’t think mystery writers take themselves too seriously. I think I’m more bothered by books that are supposed to be so literary but fall short IMO.

      3. Yes, a good balance is what I look for in a mystery. Nothing too cute, nothing too serious, and with well drawn characters I can empathize with (or hate)! That’s what Christie had in DROVES…

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