Sidney Chambers, the Vicar of Grantchester, is a thirty-two-year-old bachelor. Tall, with dark brown hair, eyes the colour of hazelnuts and a reassuringly gentle manner, 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. Nonetheless, he manages to find time for a keen interest in cricket, warm beer, hot jazz and the works of Tolstoy and Shakespeare - as well as a curious fondness for a German widow three years his junior. From the son of the former Archbishop of Canterbury, this is the first of The Grantchester Mysteries, six detective novels spanning thirty years of British history - from the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953 to the wedding of Charles and Diana in 1981 - featuring the unforgettable vicar and sleuth, Sidney Chambers.
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James Runcie is the Artistic Director of the Bath Literature Festival and author of four novels, The Discovery of Chocolate, The Colour of Heaven, Canvey Island and East Fortune. He is also an award-winning film-maker. James Runcie lives in Edinburgh with his wife and two daughters.Review:
While the diminutive priest detective created by G. K. Chesterton led the way, Sidney Chambers is set fair to be a worthy successor ... this is quite an achievement -- Barry Turner * Daily Mail * Each tale is beautifully crafted and surprising. I hope for many more volumes -- A.N. Wilson * Spectator * A charmingly effective tale of detection ... Runcie's fine crime debut evokes oodles of churchy village atmosphere, circa 1953, [and] provides a satisfyingly old fashioned read * The Times * No detective since Father Brown has been more engaging than Canon Sidney Chambers. Perfect company in bed * Salley Vickers, author of Miss Garnett's Angel * The coziest of cozy murder mysteries ... These stories present a consistently charming and occasionally cutting commentary on "a postwar landscape full of industry, promise and concrete" * New York Times Book Review * 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 * Inspector Morse would appear to have a rival -- Mary Crockett * Scotland on Sunday * 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 * Alexander McCall Smith's Mma Ramotswe is going to have to look to her laurels! Sidney Chambers's adventures are thoroughly captivating and engaging. I loved the character and I loved the highly evocative period feel and dialogue * Amanda Craig, author of Love in Idleness * An undiluted pleasure * Scotsman * What a bloody fantastic thing ... this could only be improved by finding a winning Euromillions ticket tucked in the pages * Rev Richard Coles * Beautifully crafted ... Perfectly placed to become comfort viewing on Sunday evenings, filling those Rumpole- and Morse-sized gaps in our lives. But enjoy them as literature first * Reader's Digest, Books of Christmas * Only a churl could resist Sidney, whose musings on love, evil and morality, penchant for quoting snippets of poetry, preference for whiskey over the endless cups of tea he is offered, and ratiocinative success at unraveling crimes make him endearing * Kirkus *
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