|The Dales Detective Series Julia Chapman|
The rain is pouring down once more today, yesterday we had text message alerts to warn of thunder storms (which thankfully didn’t happen) and last week we were battered by the 100km/h hurricane winds of tempête Miguel, yet it is almost the middle of June.
I’ve snatched the odd moment in the garden, pulling up damp soggy weeds and wading through wet grass that sticks to my legs as I check out the cherries, trying their best to ripen in what little sun we’ve had. Always keeping one eye on the steel grey skies threatening rain any moment. Mostly, I’ve been reading. Anything to distract from the weather outside, but in the early hours of last Friday, with the wind rattling the roof tiles and keeping me awake, I’m not sure my choice of book was the best distraction.
I was in Bruncliffe, in the Yorkshire Dales, home to Julia Chapman’s The Dales Detective series where feisty, independent Delilah can’t help but get involved with town bad boy Samson and his new detective business. It was winter in Bruncliffe, the weather was unpredictable; cold, wet and windy, seemingly just like June here in France, although we were at least spared the snow. I had no trouble imagining myself pounding the fells with Delilah and her dog Tolpuddle on their morning run in the rain.
I first came across Julia’s writing when she took us to the heart of the Ariège in the Pyrenees with her Fogas Chronicles. Five novels that told of the goings on of a mountain community, with local politics, romance, cycling and bears all served up with lots of humour and quirky rural French life. I loved them and was quite sad when life took Julia back to the north of the UK and her France series came to an end.
Aside from the weather, I’ve enjoyed my visit to the town of Bruncliffe almost as much as my time in Fogas. It is also a place where everyone knows everyone else’s business, but some have secrets they don’t want shared, and with murders covered up as suicides in book one, unfortunate accidents that aren’t all they seem in book two and a mysterious death from twenty years ago to unravel in book three, there is no shortage of mysterious goings on for Samson to uncover. I’ve combed through the evidence, pointed my finger at the suspects and loved the sparks that fly between Samson and Delilah, as I’ve tried to come up with the answers and discover who did it and why. Despite the grizzly goings on these are cosy mysteries with lots of humour and the characters now feel like friends.
If you haven’t yet discovered the Dales Detective series, now is your chance as books one and two are currently only 99p each on Kindle UK and book four is available to pre-order on Amazon. Julia will also be doing a Yorkshire bookshop tour to celebrate the publication of Date with Poison later this summer and for those of you who want to practice reading in French, the series has been translated and published here in France and is a ’so British’ best seller.
I really hope our weather begins to pick up soon, much as I’ve loved being in the Dales, I don’t need Bruncliffe weather here in France this summer, I need sunshine!