I’m really delighted to be helping to celebrate Date with Death by Julia Chapman. Date With Death is published by Pan MacMillan today, 9th March 2017, and is available for purchase by following the publisher links here.
Date With Death
Samson O’Brien has been dismissed from the police force, and returns to his hometown of Bruncliffe in the Yorkshire Dales to set up the Dales Detective Agency while he fights to clear his name. However, the people of Bruncliffe aren’t that welcoming to a man they see as trouble.
Delilah Metcalfe, meanwhile, is struggling to keep her business, the Dales Dating Agency, afloat – as well as trying to control her wayward Weimaraner dog, Tolpuddle. Then when Samson gets his first case, investigating the supposed suicide of a local man, things take an unexpected turn, and soon he discovers a trail of deaths that lead back to the door of Delilah’s agency.
With suspicion hanging over someone they both care for, the two feuding neighbours soon realize that they need to work together to solve the mystery of the dating deaths. But working together is easier said than done . . .
Not All Blood and Guts; Not Always Cosy
A Guest Post by Julia Chapman
When I set out to write the Dales Detective Series, I was aware of the expectations of the genre. Cosy Crime. No blood. No guts. No gore. It’s a softer type of crime, at the opposite end of the spectrum from hardboiled thrillers. In this type of fiction, the characters take centre stage and the puzzle of identifying the perpetrator is more important than a forensically precise description of the bullet wound.
In the world of my Dales Detective, there is also humour, a light-hearted approach to life that persists even through the toughest of times. People tend to laugh rather than throw punches. Or, when punches are thrown (and there are a few in Date with Death), the result is funny rather than fatal.
There’s also a lot of tea. A LOT of tea. And cake.
Ultimately, it’s a world peopled predominately by good folk – Yorkshire folk who aren’t afraid to tell you when you’re out of line. Or to offer opinions on everything and anything, whether you want them or not!
Of course, there’s always the odd rogue. But we rest easy knowing that they will inevitably get caught. Even if the catching is unorthodox, involving amateur sleuths. Or tractors. Or a Weimaraner suffering with an anxiety disorder . . .
Fine. These are all hallmarks of the genre after all. But it doesn’t mean everything has to be cosy.
In the small market town of Bruncliffe, where my new series is set, there is dark as well as light. The backdrop of the Yorkshire Dales gives us that in spades! The weather and the landscape are capable of providing violence – the fells in winter as brutal a place as any desolate urban area, the winds that howl over them a destructive menace.
It’s a farming region, life lived in a cycle of seasons measured out by the breeding, raising and selling of livestock. But don’t presume that makes it a bucolic paradise. Ask any local here and they’ll tell you about the barbarity that visited this area during Foot and Mouth. The burning pyres. The empty fields. The acrimony that tore communities and families apart. There was blood and gore aplenty here then. And even today, the economic difficulties facing farming families don’t make for a cosy lifestyle.
So there is a healthy dose of reality in my take on Cosy Crime. There is plenty to disturb the reader; to snap them out of this comfortable world and into a slightly darker place. But I guess the key difference is that by the resolution, balance has been restored. Good invariably triumphs. And there is always a pot of tea and a thick slice of Yorkshire teacake close to hand. You can’t get much cosier than that.
About Julia Chapman
Julia Chapman is the pseudonym of Julia Stagg, author of the Fogas Chronicles set in the French Pyrenees.
Born with a wanderlust that keeps her moving, Julia has followed her restless feet to Japan, Australia, the USA and France. She spent the majority of that time as a teacher of English as a Foreign Language but also dabbled in bookselling, pawnbroking, waitressing and was once ‘checkout-chick of the month’ at a supermarket in South Australia. She also ran an auberge in the French Pyrenees for six years with her husband.
Having spent many years wandering, she is now glad to call the Yorkshire Dales home, its distinctive landscape and way of life providing the setting for her latest series of novels, the Dales Detective.
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