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! 

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

‘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

‘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

‘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
and find her on Facebook]