An independent bookshop in Knaresborough, North Yorkshire.


Author visit at Castlegate Books Friday 9th August from 1pm

Raid of the Ratskull Rodents by James Steptowe £7.99

This action-packed story
is beautifully told,

presenting a delightful,
vivid adventure with rich language and imagery.

- Victoria Atkin, Literacy Lead, Bell Lane Primary School, Hendon, London

Raid of the Ratskull Rodents

About the book

When Gus the cat finds out his beloved owner has had something very sacred of his go missing, Gus smells foul play and is ready to investigate. What Gus isn’t quite ready for is just how difficult and downright dangerous it will be to get it back…

Who for: Young readers between 7 and 11

What: The debut mystery/adventure story for young readers from author James Steptowe. Courageous cats, revolting rats, gullible guinea pigs and a missing sacred object all feature in – Raid of the Ratskull Rodents.

What’s unique about this book: Complete with illustrations and footnotes to help with tricky words and phrases. This is a book that will appeal to a wide-range of readers from seven-years-old and up.

About James Steptowe

James has been teaching locally at Scotton Lingerfield Primary school since January and will be going full-time as an author when he finishes this summer. He moved to Yorkshire from London last summer, and now lives near Leeds with his wife and young kitten. He loves teaching but has always felt his unique perspective on what inspires and challenges children in their reading meant he just had to write a children’s book. When he’s not teaching, writing or reading, you’ll find him in his garden, playing tag rugby or hiking through the magnificent Yorkshire Dales.



Twitter: @jamessteptowe

Instagram: @raidoftheratskullrodents


Praise for ‘Raid of the Ratskull Rodents’

Raid of the Ratskull Rodents is a rare book that can engage readers of almost any age. - Peter Anstee, author of ‘Differentiation Pocketbook’ and ‘Independent Learning Pocketboook’

Raid of the Ratskull Rodents is an exceptional choice fit for all ages. Jam-packed with adventure and description, fun and excitement. Abigail Parkin, 11 years old Mirfield Free Grammar School


I highly recommend it as an addition to all primary bookshelves (and I'm allergic to cats!) - Matt O’Grady, Head teacher, West Horndon Primary School

James’ visit

• James will be reading some of his book and talking about his inspiration for the story and what it’s like writing a children’s book

• providing some fun activities related to the book

• You will have the opportunity to buy signed copy of the book with bookmarks and stickers provided for free!

Book Signing on
Tuesday 2nd July 2019
from 12pm
at Castlegate Books



The Dales Detective Series

Date with Poison

by Julia Chapman

Pan Macmillan / 27thJune 2019 / paperback original £7.99

Date With Poison


'Bags of Yorkshire charm and wit' Northern Echo

When writer Julia Chapman moved to the Yorkshire Dales eight years ago she fell in love with the rolling fells, dry stone walls, and the renowned Yorkshire dry humour, and so it immediately sparked the concept for her successful Dales Detective series set in this spectacular landscape.

Inspired by rural crimes of sheep rustling on her Dales doorstep (and rustling of machinery and even hay for that matter!) it became apparent there was wrongdoing afoot even in these remote, idyllic hills.

And so the Dales became the perfect backdrop to a page-turning cosy crime series set in Bruncliffe, a small fictional town where locals and offcumden (folk from beyond the Dales) gather in the cobbled market square, gossip in Peaks Patisserie and congregate at the Fleece, the pub where everyone knows everyone else’s business.

In Date with Poison, the fourth book in the popular series, Samson O’Brien, dismissed from the metropolitan police force and the black sheep of Bruncliffe, is back on the case with his Dales Detective Agency investigating a string of suspected poisonings. Delilah Metcalfe, owner of the struggling Dales Dating Agency, is roped into the case despite her reservations, and is beginning to wonder if O’Brien is more trouble than he’s worth.

An entertaining cast of colourful and loveable characters set against an intriguing mystery combine in a compelling and hugely satisfying new instalment in this well-loved, charming series.


Date With Death Date With Malice Date With Mystery

Date with Death:

'A charming new series for fans of Alexander McCall Smith and Midsomer Murders'.

It all begins with Samson O'Brien's dismissal from the police force. He decides to return to his native Yorkshire Dales,

to his home town of Bruncliffe. Once settled Samson opens the Dales Detective Agency, while he continues to fight to

clear his name. There is some suspicion in the town however, as some see the man as trouble and are not too welcoming. 

At the same time, Delilah Metcalfe is trying to keep her business, The Dales Dating Agency afloat. She also struggles tokeep her wayward dog Tolpuddle under control. Soon things take a turn for the worse, when Samson's first case involvesinvestigating the apparent suicide of a local man. Delilah's dating agency comes under the spotlight when Samson finds a trail of deaths that leads him to Delilah's agency.

The finger of suspicion points to a person that both Delilah and Samson care for, they then realise that they will need to put their differences to one side in order to solve the myterious deaths. But this will not be easy ...


Date with Malice:

Samson O'Brien has a visitor to his Dales Detective Agency, one morning in December. At first he is somewhat sceptical when Mrs Shepherd says that she believes that someone is trying to kill her. Maybe she is well meaning, but a confused elderly lady. However, there soon begins a worrying string of incidents at the Fellside Court retirement home and Samson begins to think that there may be more to her claims than he at first believed ...

As Christmas fast approaches, Samson soon finds himself to be deep into a complicated investigation. It's going to be difficult though, as Samson must reaquaint himself with the local people that he turned his back on many years ago and regain their trust. He must find an ally in his fight, so he turns to the tempestuous local woman Delilah Metcalfe.

As the mystery unfolds through the dark, cold Dales mid-winter Samson and Delilah work together to try to thwart the malevolence that is threatening the residents of Bruncliffe, particularly the elderly. Will it transpire that the danger is very close to home?


Date with Mystery:

The Dales Detective Agency has a brand new case and the assignment appears to be very clear cut. A local solictor hires Samson in order to find the death certificate of a young woman, one who died more than twenty years ago. As Samson has learnt in the past though, things are never straightforward in Bruncliffe. Then the solicitor makes an additional request, that Deliah Metcalfe be brought into the sensitive case in order to assist Samson, bringing her wealth of knowledge of the local people.

Delilah is happy to help out, but has other things on her mind. For instance, the custody battle for her beloved dog, Tolpuddle. Also the continuing threat the her bank will foreclose on her business, the Dales Detective Agency which recently has been struggling.

When Samson and Delilah begin to make enquiries into the case, they soon begin to uncover a long standing mystery that has it's roots in the town from many decades ago. As they close in on the truth, and threaten to expose long held secrets, will someone move to stop them?  


Praise for The Dales Detective Series

'A delightful read' Dalesman

'Great fun!' - Carol Drinkwater

'A classic whodunit set in the spectacular landscape of the Yorkshire Dales, written with affection for the area and its people. A satisfying read riddled with dry Yorkshire humour (and dry stone walls)' - Cath Staincliffe, author of The Silence Between Breaths

'Chapman delivers on every level in this intriguing murder mystery' - Lancashire Evening Post


About Julia Chapman

Cursed from a young age with itchy feet, Julia has lived in Japan, Australia, the UK, the USA and France. Before writing fulltime she worked in a variety of jobs, including as a waitress, a ‘check-out chick’, a bookseller, a pawn broker and a teacher of English as a Foreign Language. In 2004, she moved to the Ariège-Pyrenees region of France to run a small auberge with her husband.

While living in the Pyrenees Julia wrote a successful series of books, The Fogas Chronicles, under her real name Julia Stagg (published by Hodder and Stoughton). Previous titles in the Dales Detective series are Date with Death (2017), Date with Malice (2017) and Date with Mystery (2018) all published by Pan Macmillan. Now living in the Yorkshire Dales Julia writes a regular column in Dalesman magazine. When she is not writing Julia is usually out cycling or running on the fells. For a short while at least, those feet have stopped itching.

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