Friday, 10 March 2017

GOODREADS: A Sneak Peak From DATE WITH DEATH by Julia Chapman

Normally, when I take part in blog tours, I tend to write a wee review on the book or else interview the author. Today, I have something a little bit different for you guys to enjoy: a sneak peak extract from a chapter of a new book by Julia Chapman: Date with Death. 



Date With Death is the first in a new series by Chapman, set in the Yorkshire Dales (very close to home for me!) Described as being filled with "dry Yorkshire humour" (aka, everything I look for in a novel), I am very excited to get stuck into the copy that the lovely team at Pan Macmillan sent to me for review! I haven't quite had the opportunity to read it yet but it's definitely one of the next on my to-read list! 

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Elaine Bullock could do many things. She could name every flower that flourished in Hawber Woods. All the trees, too. She could identify a bird from the first few notes of its song. She could also talk for hours about the clints and grikes that patterned the limestone pavement which defined the local landscape. What she couldn’t do, however, was waitress. 


‘Bugger!’ she muttered as the stack of plates she was carrying back to the kitchen gave a sudden wobble, sending a knife clattering to the stone-flagged floor. It was closely followed by its sibling, a fork. 

‘Are you planning on dropping the lot, Elaine?’ demanded the taller of the two elderly ladies standing by the counter, both of them dressed in black. She indicated her companion with her walking stick. ‘It’s just that my sister’s heart’s not what it was, and she might appreciate a bit of notice. Isn’t that right, Clarissa?’

‘Leave her be, Edith,’ came a soft rebuke from her sister. ‘She’s learning, bless her.’ 

‘I’m trying,’ said Elaine, stooping to retrieve the wayward cutlery, finger-smudged glasses slipping down her nose and dark plaits swinging against her cheeks.

‘You can say that again! Two days in and you’re trying my patience.’ Arms folded and stretching a white apron across an impressive paunch, shoulders almost touching the sides of the kitchen doorway, Titch Harrison glared down at her. ‘When you’ve finished scrabbling around on the floor, there’s two plates as need serving. And be quick about it.’ 

He stood to one side, letting her slip past with a despairing shake of his head. Seconds later the loud crash of shattering crockery hailed from the kitchen, followed by muffled curses. Titch rolled his eyes. 

‘Just as well we’re quiet,’ he grumbled, glancing over at the table by the window, the couple of tourists seated at it his only customers. ‘All the folk down at that funeral don’t know what they’re missing. Knife-throwing! Platesmashing! That Bullock lass will be eating fire next! And she’d be a damn sight better at it than waiting tables because, heaven knows, she couldn’t be worse.’ 

‘Give her a chance, Douglas,’ admonished Edith Hird, former headmistress of Bruncliffe Primary School and the only person in town who insisted on using the chef’s given name, her reluctance to adopt his ridiculous nickname stemming from both her memory of him in her classroom and the fact that she’d known him since he’d been in nappies. Sizeable nappies they’d been, too. ‘She’s young and she’s a hard worker.’ 

‘She’ll bloody need to be, with the amount of extra work she creates,’ he muttered, a faint flush spilling up his cheeks from his ginger beard. Thirty years on from primary school, and still Miss Hird’s sharp tongue could return him to his mumbling youth. Then the severity of her attire reminded him of the occasion. ‘How’d it go?’ he asked gently.

‘As you’d expect,’ said Edith. ‘A full house and not a dry eye.’ 

‘Such a shame,’ murmured Clarissa. ‘Such a young man.’ 

‘Aye, a right shame. He was a good lad.’ Titch stared at the floor, not given to eloquence at the best of times. In the present circumstances he was particularly struggling. ‘Hope they’ll do, anyhow,’ he said, gesturing at the two trays of sandwiches on the counter. ‘Tell Barbara it’s all I could put together at short notice.’ 

Edith nodded. ‘She’ll be glad of them. She’s panicking she’s not got enough to feed all those that turned out. What do I owe you?’ 

‘A tenner.’ 

‘Don’t be daft,’ said Edith bluntly, opening her purse. ‘You might not have been top of the class in maths, but even you knew your times tables. Now, what do I really owe you?’ 
Titch was saved from further castigation by the disbelieving tone of Miss Hird’s sister as she raised a bony hand towards a figure visible through the window. 

‘Edith, is that . . . ? It can’t be . . .’


-


A charming new series for fans of Alexander McCall Smith, Robert Galbraith and Midsomer Murders.

Date with Death was published Thursday 9th March, 2017 by Pan Macmillan. You can buy it from all the usual places. 

[Julia Chapman is the author of Date with Death, the first novel in the Dales Detective Series, published March 9th (Pan). You can follow Julia on Twitter @DalesWriter, visit her website www.jstagg.com and find her on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/DalesDetective]


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