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Sidney Chambers and The Problem of Evil (The Grantchester Mysteries) Hardcover – 22 May 2014

4.5 out of 5 stars 102 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing (22 May 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1408850990
  • ISBN-13: 978-1408850992
  • Product Dimensions: 13.9 x 2.8 x 22.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (102 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 100,578 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

We should welcome him to the ranks of classic detectives (Daily Mail)

Chambers turns out to be a winning clergyman-sleuth, and Runcie's literary authority is repeatedly demonstrated in the construction of his elegant tales ... there is no denying the winning charm of these artfully fashioned mysteries (Barry Forshaw Independent)

Runcie is emerging as Grantchester's answer to Alexander McCall Smith . The book brings a dollop of Midsomer Murders to the Church of England, together with a literate charm of its own: civilized entertainment, with dog-collars (Spectator)

The clerical milieu is well rendered as an affectionate eye is cast over post-war England - a perfect accompaniment to a sunny afternoon, a hammock and a glass of Pimm's (Guardian)

Totally English, beautifully written, perfectly in period and wryly funny. More please! (Country Life)

Inspector Morse would appear to have a rival (Scotland on Sunday)

For those who want to beat the crowds, the third book in the series has all the pleasures of the first two ... Above all, they'll relish the company of Sidney himself, affectionately and almost defiantly presented as a kindly Christian doing his best in an increasingly secular world ... In fact, Sidney is such a pleasure to be with that these are crime stories that might work just as well without the crime ... The result, once again, is gentle, often funny and undeniably charming (Readers Digest)

James Runcie favours the light touch . Fun to be with, this cleric is enlightened and enlightening (Daily Mail)

Book Description

Soon to be a major six-part series for ITV, Grantchester

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

By Damaskcat HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 12 Jun. 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
In common with the previous two books in this series this one consists of long short stories - four in this volume. The likeable Canon finds himself confronted by evil when his fellow clergymen are murdered. He moves on from that to an ingenious art theft and a naked girl singing in French. This is followed by Sidney and his dog, Dickens, taking part in the filming of Dorothy L Sayers' 'The Nine Tailors' with the final story involves a new born baby snatched from a hospital.

I enjoyed this collection of gentle crime stories set in the early nineteen sixties and I liked the way Sidney is developing as a character. I am not so keen on his wife Hiledgard and I have taken a distinct dislike to her as she tries to change Sidney. I think the plots are well constructed and the writing is excellent. The characters are well drawn too - even the less likeable ones. Disliking Hildegard won't stop me reading future volumes in the series.

This series - of which this is the third volume - can be read in any order but it is easier to understand the relationships betwen the series characters if you read the books in the order in which they were published.
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Format: Kindle Edition
I think the best way to describe the pace of this series as 'ambulatory', there is no rush, no hurry, all is discovered and sorted out in a quiet, understated way, no mad stabbings or frenzied killings. Makes Miss Marple look positively skittish.

Each book contains four or five short stories, or long short stories if you know what I mean and I think this is an excellent way to present them. Rather feel there is not enough weight for a full length novel. In the latest we are reaching the Sixties, Sidney is married to Hildegarde, he is happy in his marriage and leading a quiet life.(Have to admit I am not too keen on Hildegarde, feel he should have married Amanda). But we know that things will happen and first up we have a serial killer targeting clergy (and yes I said these are gentle books, even a serial killer does not seem to ruffle the surface); disappearance of a painting; a drowning on a film shoot which is not an accident and a baby stolen from a hospital.

Much though I enjoyed this book my attention did begin to wander after a while as I felt the narrative was verging on the aimless at times, something I found with the First Ladies Detective Agency series. Yes, taking one's time and being philosophical and thoughtful is ok but occasionally you want something, anything,to happen.

This is a series of six books set in post war England and coming up to date and in order to place them there are references to the Beatles, President Kennedy etc just to remind us where we are and this can become a tad annoying at times. Also a sneaky thought crept into my mind when I read the first title, to whit that this would make a perfect TV series. Did the author have this in mind?
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Excellent light reading, which works on several levels at once. The engaging story-lines have a strong narrative thread linking the 'episodes'. An unusual streak of religion, ethics and philosophy which is handled with great skill, since it could interfere with the story-line but instead subtly contributes to it and never descends into preaching, though all the dilemmas faced by the characters are capable of making one think. I hope that the promised additional volumes come to pass!
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I have read all the books in the series and have loved every one for their nostalgia, religious and literary references, characterisation and their very Englishness. The historical events referred to are a reminder of how things have changed knowing what we all know now. Can there be another book knowing that the 1960's was probably the beginning of the world we know today. Would they lose their poignancy? Should Sydney, Hildegard and Geordie be left in ignorant bliss or dragged into the even harsher realities of the decline in law, order and respect for our fellow man? Less jazz more Mersey beat? I don't think so but maybe Mr Runcie has a master plan. Thoroughly enjoyable reading.
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Having read the first two Sidney Chambers books, I downloaded this when I was stuck without something to read, and needed to get something without thinking too much about it. I quite liked the first two books (probably book 2 best), but I do feel the series is getting a little bogged down with rather too much theology (should I really expect otherwise when the author is the son of an ex-Archbishop of Canterbury?) and not enough detective work.

As we follow the detecting Canon Chambers around Granchester and Cambridge, the crime and detection part of the storyline is getting paper thin, while both Chambers' religious musings and the soap opera aspects (primarily the birth of his first child) dominate. I don't think I'll be going back for a fourth try. The only part I did find rather moving was the death of Chambers' dog.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I am glad I read this before I watched the TV series. Though the series was good, the books are actually better. The story of a vicar of Granchester, in the 1950's, who inadvertantly turns detective, in partnership, with the local DI, Georgdie. Humane, and fully involving, set in Cambrige, this will stand riival to Oxford's Morse, for many years to come,
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