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The Sidney Chambers and the Shadow of Death: The Grantchester Mysteries (Grantchester Mysteries) Runcie, James ( Author ) Apr-24-2012 Paperback Broché – 24 avril 2012
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So my suggestion would be to read this book on its own! It is a good book that sees an willing clergyman solve crime for good and for friendship. It focuses on human emotions and beliefs of all its characters which are never truly black or white and that at times can get waylaid for romance and overdramatization to boost tv viewership.
This is not a murder mystery whodunnit novel. If you are expecting Agatha Christie or Doyle, you will be find this too bland. Without any spoiler alert, not every story has a murder. This is a series of short stories where every crime is solved with a lesson learned in humanity.
I know I'm getting the second book.
Vicar of Grantchester, Sidney Chambers, is a bachelor and veteran of battle during WWII. With his backgammon and pint friend Insp. Geordie Keating, and his friends, Sidney becomes involved in much more than baptisms and wedding; sometimes mystery is on the agenda.
What a wonderful collection of six short stories this is. Although they are “cozy”, as in no profanity, sex, or overt violence, some of the themes are quite serious.
Because of Sidney’s past in the war, the topic of PTSD, even though not recognized as such then, is addressed, as is racism and prejudice of several kinds. There is certainly the theme of faith, but rather than blind faith, it is questioning and uncertain. Sidney questions his vocation, and certainly questions his participation in some of the mysteries with which he becomes involved.
Beside Sidney and Geordie, Ruskin has created very real supporting characters in Mrs. Maguire, the housekeeper, Curate, Leonard Graham, Sidney’s friend, Amanda Kendall, and the dog, “What the Dickens.” They add dimension, and occasionally conflict, to the stories.
There is a delightful thread that runs through the stories of everyone assuming—“I had you down as a sherry man.” “Most people do…but I’d prefer whisky if that’s possible.”
Ruskin‘s wonderful use of language makes this such a treat to read—“I’m not stupid, Canon Chambers. I know how to keep secrets. Have you heard of Tupperware?...Nothing gets in; nothing comes out.” His descriptions are evocative—“Autumn was his favorite time of year, not simply for its changing colours but for the crispness in the air and the sharpness of the light. There are nicely done analogies—“The snow had muffled the once audible cries of the world. It was like grace, he decided, or the love of God, coming down silently and unexpectedly in the night.”
“Sidney Chambers and the Shadow of Death” is a collection of mysteries, but it’s also a study of humanity and faith in general, as well as the question of at what cost comes pride.
SIDNEY CHAMBERS AND THE SHADOW OF DEATH (Trad Mys/Pol Proc-Sidney Chambers/Insp. Geordie Keating-Grantchester, Eng-1953) – G+
Runcie, James – 1st book of short stories
Bloomsbury, USA – Apr 2012
The mysteries are not highly complex, but are very satisfying to me. The characters are interesting and I found myself watching their development. (I ended up buying all three available books and reading them within about 5 days.) I much prefer the Sidney Chambers of the books to the one on TV; I do, of course, find myself picturing the actors as I read, even though the actor playing Sidney doesn't quite fit his description in the books.
If you like cozy mysteries with a bit of romance and evaluations of human nature, these books are for you. If you are looking for the Sidney Chambers of Grantchester, you might want to wait for the next season of the show. They are two different things.
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