The Dales Detective Books in Order: How to read Julia Chapman’s series?

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Written by Julia Chapman (the pseudonym of Julia Stagg), an author from Yorkshire Dales in the north of England, The Dales Detective is a cozy mystery series. Set in Bruncliffe in the Yorkshire Dales, the series follows the investigation of ex-police detective Samson O’Brien and founder of the Dales Detective Agency with the tempestuous Delilah Metcalfe.

How to read The Dales Detective Series in Order?

Every entry in the Dales Detective book series works as a standalone story, but the lives of the different characters evolve from one novel to the other.

  1. 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.
  2. Date with Malice – When Mrs Shepherd arrives at the Dales Detective Agency on a December morning, quite convinced that someone is trying to kill her, Samson O’Brien dismisses her fears as the ramblings of a confused elderly lady. But after a series of disturbing incidents at Fellside Court retirement home, he begins to wonder if there is something to her claims after all . . .
  3. Date with Mystery – The Dales Detective Agency’s latest assignment appears to be an open and shut case. Hired by a local solicitor to find a death certificate for a young woman who died over twenty years ago, Samson O’Brien is about to find out that things in Bruncliffe are rarely that straightforward. Particularly when the solicitor insists that Delilah Metcalfe, with her wealth of local knowledge, works alongside Samson on this sensitive investigation.
  1. Date with Poison – Samson O’Brien of the Dales Detective Agency is being questioned by the police about a murder, with the truth about his policing past about to be brutally exposed. And with Bruncliffe turning on Samson, his business partner Delilah Metcalfe finds herself in the impossible position of defending him to her friends and family.
  2. Date with Danger – A fatal accident at Bruncliffe’s livestock auction mart leads auctioneer Harry Furness to call in detective duo Samson O’Brien and Delilah Metcalfe, but what starts as a simple health-and-safety investigation soon takes a sinister turn when they discover evidence that suggests murder. With their enquiries ongoing, Clive Knowles approaches them for help – his sheep are being threatened by the gang of rustlers that is plaguing the Dales.
  3. Date with Deceit – A woman in tears in the Dales Detective Agency is never the best way to start the week. But when that woman is the wife of Bernard Taylor, town mayor and eminent businessman, there is even more cause for alarm. So when Nancy Taylor asks the detectives to investigate whether her husband is having an affair, Samson O’Brien and Delilah Metcalfe know they will have to tread carefully.
  1. Date with Betrayal – Death is coming to Bruncliffe; its target is Samson O’Brien. Oblivious to his impending date with darkness, Samson is busy juggling a series of cases at the Dales Detective Agency. Too busy, in fact, to take the entreaties of a certain Mrs Lister seriously. The concerned mother is convinced her son Stuart – the local lettings agent at Taylor’s Estate Agents – has gone missing, despite evidence to the contrary.
  2. Date with Evil – From stolen washing to inheritance investigations, Bruncliffe’s Dales Detective Agency is being inundated with cases. But with Samson O’Brien still in London helping the Met Police clear his name, and the newly appointed member of the investigations team, Ida Capstick, distracted by her brother George’s insistence that their farm is haunted, Delilah Metcalfe is struggling to meet the mounting demands for the agency’s services. So when the mother of a local estate agent arrives at the offices insisting her son is missing, Delilah is relieved to have Samson return to help. Little do the detective duo know that several of their cases are about to collide, as what appears to be a simple matter of identifying the whereabouts of the missing man becomes something far more sinister.
  3. Date with Justice – The Dales Detective Agency is on the brink of closure. Samson O’Brien has returned to his position as an undercover operative for the Met in London, and his relationship with Delilah is under pressure. Their troubles are only multiplied when an ecologist is found dead and the finger of blame is pointed firmly at Delilah’s older brother, Will Metcalfe.It seems an open-and-shut case. An argument over an ecology report for planning permission got out of hand, with Will is known to have a hot temper. But Delilah won’t accept he’s guilty and neither will Samson.

If you like our article about reading Julia Chapman’s Dales Detective reading order, don’t forget to bookmark it! You may also be interested in M.C. Beaton’s books, Elly Griffiths’s series, or our guide to the Mitchell and Markby series. Don’t hesitate to follow us on Twitter or Facebook to discover more book series.

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