Sidney Chambers and the Shadow of Death, James Runcie (The Grantchester Mysteries #1)
Paperback, 400 pages
Published January 13th 2015 by Bloomsbury USA
Source: Copy from Publisher
Sidney Chambers, the Vicar of Grantchester, is a thirty-two year old bachelor. Sidney is an unconventional clergyman and can go where the police cannot.
Together with his roguish friend Inspector Geordie Keating, Sidney inquires into the suspect suicide of a Cambridge solicitor, a scandalous jewellery theft at a New Year’s Eve dinner party, the unexplained death of a well-known jazz promoter and a shocking art forgery, the disclosure of which puts a close friend in danger. Sidney discovers that being a detective, like being a clergyman, means that you are never off duty . . .
How did I not know about Grantchester? A swooningly handsome English vicar with his loyal black lab puppy getting involved in murder mysteries in the 1950’s – yes please. Meet tv Sidney:
With that image in mind I am happy to sacrifice my imagination to the BBC’s fine work. I decided to dive into the books before checking out the tv series and found myself reading a book that almost feels like it was written to become a tv series. The Shadow of Death was not one mystery but a series of somewhat interconnected stories. As Sidney gets pulled in by the police we meet his friend Inspector Keating, his grumpy housekeeper, his love interests and his family. I love the setting of England recovering from the war and the internal conflict of Sidney the war hero with the upright vicar. You feel Sidney’s initial reluctance to become involved in police business then turning to excitement as he gets more involved in each case. I can’t put my finger on why – but something reminded me of my beloved Flavia de Luce – maybe the slight grumpiness that gets into Sidney at times?
And obviously here’s where I was sunk – when Sidney is gifted a puppy he is told:
“There is nothing like a Lab for company, and the black are better for conversation I find.”
I am looking forward to seeing if the stories grow any deeper in the second book in the series, after all now the stage has been set and Sidney’s supporting characters largely revealed. I’m very curious about where dualing love interests will head
Now the biggest question is – do I binge Season One of Grantchester before or after reading more Sidney? Are you reading or watching this series? Let me know!
Thank you Bloomsbury USA for this copy in exchange for an honest opinion!