Sunday, August 30, 2015

Sidney Chambers and the Problem of Evil by James Runcie

Sidney Chambers and the Problem of Evil (Grantchester Mysteries Book 3) by James Runcie --- 287 pages

Canon Sidney Chambers, Anglican priest and amateur detective, is enjoying marriage with his German bride, Hidegard, in this third volume is the Grantchester Mysteries series. He has promised Hidegard that his sleuthing days are over, and he tries to keep that promise. Unfortunately, two dead doves left on the vicarage doorstep draw him back into the investigation of what appears to be a disgruntled killer with a grudge against the Church in the title story of this selection of four novellas.

As more than one reviewer has pointed out, these are not, strictly speaking, detective stories; Runcie's priest (modeled on his own father, the late, celebrated Archbishop of Canterbury), is not really interested in crime or police work, but in the struggle to understand good and evil, sin and forgiveness, the nature of love, and redemption.

There's also a quiet but delicious streak of humor running through the books, reminding us that the ability to laugh is very often the saving grace of humankind through all our faults and foibles.

Runcie has planned a six book series, looking at the sea changes to British society through Sidney's eyes, from 1953 (Queen Elizabeth's coronation) to 1981 (the marriage of Prince Charles to Lady Diana Spencer).

Click HERE for background on Canon Sidney Chambers and a summary of the four books in the series thus far.

Click HERE for a review of The Problem of Evil from the Independent (UK).

Click HERE for a review from The Scotsman.

Click HERE for a review from the Euro Crime (UK) fan web site.

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