Date with Poison By Julia Chapman: Clever, cosy and refreshingly original, Date With Poison is a quintessentially Yorkshire reading treat! - book review -

Date with Poison
Date with Poison
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Private investigator Samson O’Brien thought things couldn’t get much worse for him in his picturesque home town… but he hadn’t reckoned on being arrested on suspicion of murder.

Private investigator Samson O’Brien thought things couldn’t get much worse for him in his picturesque home town… but he hadn’t reckoned on being arrested on suspicion of murder.

Welcome back to the fictional Yorkshire Dales town of Bruncliffe where murder, mystery and malice are only ever a heartbeat away. Date With Poison is the fourth novel in Julia Chapman’s brilliantly entertaining Dales Detective Agency series which stars the irresistible former Met detective Samson O’Brien and his chalk-and-cheese business partner Delilah Metcalfe.

These enchanting whodunnits are a hot favourite with readers seduced by the stunning scenery, ingenious plotting, superb characterisation, and Chapman’s fine line in earthy Yorkshire wit.

In our return to Bruncliffe, spring is in the air but not everyone is filled with the joys of the season. Implicated in the murder of a man in Leeds, the Dales Detective Agency’s Samson O’Brien is taken away in handcuffs to face tough questioning from the police.

Meanwhile, his business partner Delilah Metcalfe, owner of the Dales Dating Agency and Bruncliffe’s ‘purveyor of love,’ is facing criticism from her family and friends for her loyalty to Samson, the town’s black sheep.

When the truth about Samson’s policing past is brutally exposed and the residents of Bruncliffe turn their backs on him, Delilah is placed in an impossible position. And things get worse when her teenage nephew, Nathan Metcalfe, who is accused of having been under the influence of the corrupt O’Brien, runs away from home.

With everyone searching frantically for the missing boy and a toxic atmosphere tainting the town, only local vet, James ‘Herriot’ Ellison, is paying attention to a worrying spate of unexpected deaths amongst his canine clientele.

Suspecting foul play, he arrives at Samson’s door. But when Samson turns to Delilah for assistance, will she be able to overlook his transgressions in order to help him uncover the source of the poison that is threatening her community… a poison that has the potential to tear her life apart.

There is a timeless charm to Chapman’s writing as the simmering relationship between Samson and Delilah plays out against intriguing mysteries, a wonderfully diverse cast of characters, and the rolling hills and rural delights of the Dales.

Chapman pens her stories with the lightest of touches but there is still a layer of gritty reality beneath the wryly funny double act of Samson and Delilah, and the now familiar, down-to-earth residents of Bruncliffe.

Clever, cosy and refreshingly original, Date With Poison is a quintessentially Yorkshire reading treat!

(Pan, paperback, £7.99)