10 cosy crime reads

In the seventh novel in Julia Chapman's charming Dales Detective series, Date with Betrayal, betrayal is rife in the idyllic Yorkshire Dales as Samson O'Brien, owner of the Dales Detective Agency, is targeted by a hitman.

Julia Chapman joins us in Caboodlers' Corner to share ten of her favourite cosy crime reads to check out this spring. And don't forget those National Book Tokens when you head to your local bookshop for even more!


Julia Chapman

"There are several key ingredients that make the softer end of the crime spectrum beguiling. The first is the thrill of the mystery; the opportunity to decipher clues without the distractions of bloodshed and brutality. Combine that with a strong sense of character and place, add a good dose of laughter, and you have the perfect recipe.

I'm also a stickler for a semblance of reality. You won't find any vicars dropping dead at tea parties in the Dales Detective series! Instead Samson and Delilah focus on issues that genuinely affect those who live in the countryside, all set against the magnificence of the fells and the limestone outcrops that dominate the landscape.

The following novels all share these basic elements and I hope you'll enjoy exploring them. As I also hope you'll enjoy the latest instalment from Bruncliffe, Date with Betrayal."

 

 

Death on the Marais by Adrian Magson

Death on the Marais by Adrian Magson (Inspector Rocco 1)

One of my favourite crime series. Set in the turbulence of France in the 1960s, Inspector Lucas Rocco finds himself transferred out of Paris to a small village where he’s thrown into local politics and a toxic local murder. Full of atmosphere. Full of tension. An absolute joy to read.

The Cuckoo's Calling

The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith (Cormoran Strike 1)

While I don't think the first book is the best in this series, it’s the best place to start! Cormoran Strike is a brilliant protagonist, complicated, grumpy and carrying more baggage than a pack-mule…

Slow Horses by Mick Herron

Slow Horses by Mick Herron (Slough House 1)

The offices of the Slow Horses are as far from cosy as you can get – and that's even without adding their boorish, slovenly boss, Jackson Lamb, into the equation! But this bunch of MI5 misfits provide great drama and great characterisation.

Still Life by Louise Penn

Still Life by Louise Penny (Chief Inspector Gamache 1)

I've come late to this excellent series set in the village of Three Pines in Quebec. The slow pace, the brilliantly depicted scenery, the accurate portrayal of life in a small community, not to mention the twists and turns of a well-drawn mystery, all contribute to making Inspector Gamache and his investigations worth following.

A Rising Man by Abir Mukherjee

A Rising Man by Abir Mukherjee (Wyndham and Banerjee 1)

Set in Calcutta in 1919, this offers a fascinating historical backdrop for the protagonists, Captain Wyndham and Sergeant Banerjee. Investigating the murder of a senior official, they are soon up against more than they bargained for! A rollercoaster of a plot set against a powder keg of political intrigue. Great reading.

The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle

The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton

I loved this! Groundhog Day meets Agatha Christie, it's a rollicking, jumbled up, mishmash of a time-travelling, body-hopping murder mystery that leaves the reader as puzzled as Aiden, the man tasked with identifying Evelyn's murderer. One of the attendees at the fatal party at Blackheath, he wakes up in the body of a different guest each morning and has to start his sleuthing all over again. Approach it with an open mind and go along for the ride!

Death in the Off-Season by Francine Mathews

Death in the Off-Season by Francine Mathews (Merry Folder 1)

The Nantucket location of this series pulled me in; the crisp plotting, interesting cast and great female lead kept me hooked. Merry Folger, newly-promoted detective carrying the weight of coming from a long line of local police chiefs, is up against it in her first murder case. Not only is she trying to prove her promotion wasn’t nepotism, she’s also trying to juggle local politics, all while trying to catch a killer.

Midnight at Malabar House

Midnight at Malabar House by Vaseem Khan

Inspector Persis Wadia is a breath of fresh air. Seen here six-months after becoming India's first female detective, she is trying to solve a murder against the tensions of post-partition. Aided by a brilliantly drawn Archie Blackfinch, a criminologist from Scotland Yard, Persis must battle misogyny and mistrust in order to find the killer. An historical mystery with a fantastic sense of place.

The Methods of Sergeant Cluff

The Methods of Sergeant Cluff by Gil North

Originally published in 1961 and set in Skipton, the self-proclaimed gateway to the Dales where my own Dales Detective series is set, North’s second Sergeant Cluff novel is darker than your traditional fare. It depicts a bleak yet fascinating mill town, the ragged fells beyond as forbidding and unknowable as the bluff sergeant himself, who is battling to solve a perplexing murder.

Lady Audley's Secret

Lady Audley's Secret by Mary Elizabeth Braddon

Written in 1862, and described more recently as the original Gone Girl, this was a massive success in its time. Centred around the enigmatic Lady Audley, newly arrived at Audley Court, the mystery of her dark past slowly unfolds into what must have been a scandalous conclusion in its day. Really worth a read.

 

About Date with Betrayal (Dales Detective Series 7)

Betrayal runs rife in the idyllic Yorkshire Dales as Samson O’Brien, owner of the Dales Detective Agency, finds himself targeted by a hitman. With Samson’s life in peril, his partner Delilah has no choice but to call in some favours across the town of Bruncliffe. The only trouble is the townsfolk have long memories and deep grievances when it comes to Samson O’Brien. Trust must be earned and they will take some convincing before they put themselves in danger in order to save him. And even then, it might not prove enough...

Discover these cosy crime reads and more in your local bookshop

Date with Betrayal

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