cover image Date with Evil: A Dales Detective Mystery

Date with Evil: A Dales Detective Mystery

Julia Chapman. Pan, $18.99 trade paper (464p) ISBN 978-1-5290-9540-1

Chapman’s sprawling eighth cozy set in the Yorkshire Dales town of Bruncliffe (following 2022’s Date with Betrayal) finds Delilah Metcalfe, owner of the Dales Dating Agency, swamped with work. While agency boss Samson O’Brien, a former undercover cop and Delilah’s sometime-flame, is in London on business, Delilah has remained in Bruncliffe to manage the agency’s affairs. Her most pressing cases include an irate housewife whose laundry has been stolen from her washing line, a suspicious fire at a caravan park, a missing real estate agent, produce theft, and “something paranormal” going on at the home of one of the agency’s part-time detectives. Things take a turn for the gruesome when—just as Delilah and her crew are beginning to suspect all their cases are connected—somebody winds up dead. Readers will relish the romantic to-ing and fro-ing between Samson and Delilah, but the pacing is exceptionally loose, and Chapman devotes too much space to character exposition. This is strictly for series devotees. Agent: Oli Munson, A.M. Heath. (Aug.)