Sidney Chambers and the dangers of temptation

James Runcie, 1959-

Book - 2016

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Runcie, James, 1959- Grantchester mysteries ; 5.
Mystery fiction
New York : Bloomsbury 2016.
First U.S. edition
Physical Description
315 pages ; 22 cm
Main Author
James Runcie, 1959- (-)
  • The dangers of temptation
  • Grantchester Meadows
  • The trouble with Amanda
  • The return
  • A German summer
  • Love and duty.
Review by Booklist Reviews

As Archdeacon Sidney Chambers' former housekeeper, Sylvia Maguire, tells him, "You never stay out of trouble for long." Here, in the fifth entry in this series, some of the troubles on view beset persons closest to Chambers: his dear friend Amanda faces a marital crisis; his former curate becomes a victim of bribery; his wife Hildegarde's childhood friend dies in a presumed accident on a family visit to Hildegarde's hometown in East Germany; Mrs. Maguire's husband returns to her after decades. As usual, Chambers confronts the miscreants and usually elicits confessions, from thieves to arsonists to murderers, the most violent of whom beheads his victim. Setting these adventures in the late 1960s to 1970, Runcie grounds the stories with actual events—the first moon landing, a Pink Floyd concert in London—and adds an international/political note with the chapter in East Germany. As for the temptations of the title, they revolve around the two verities of money and love, the latter of which also is the focus of Chambers' Easter sermon at the book's close. Fans of the books and the ­British-made PBS program the series has spawned won't want to miss this one. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

Runcie's latest story collection is the fifth in his clerical series (Sidney Chambers and the Forgiveness of Sins) that forms the basis of the popular PBS program Grantchester. In the title story, our Anglican vicar falls under the influence of an attractive divorcée Barbara Wilkinson, who needs Sidney's help in getting her son out of a cult run by awareness guru Fraser Pascoe. Pascoe turns up dead with no lack of suspects. "Grantchester Meadows" is the setting where unruly Cambridge students set off a stampede by normally placid cows during May Week and an heirloom necklace goes missing in the melee. "Love and Duty" places Sidney at a Pink Floyd concert at Royal Albert Hall with friend Amanda, who reveals her affair with Leonard Finch, Sidney's curate. Sidney then connects this information to an arson case. Chambers tends his flock and his jazz collection, all while coaxing clues from individuals under questioning. VERDICT Runcie's gently paced stories, now set in the nostalgic 1960s, will appeal to cozy fans who want less blood and more village shenanigans.—Donna Bettencourt, Mesa Cty. P.L., Grand Junction, CO [Page 54]. (c) Copyright 2016 Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

Runcie continues to deepen his characterization of Sidney Chambers in the six short stories set in the 1960s and 1970s that comprise the engrossing fifth volume of the Grantchester Mysteries (after 2015's Sidney Chambers and the Forgiveness of Sin). The rounded depiction is most in evidence in the title story, as the clergyman, now elevated to the position of Archdeacon of Ely, is asked by a woman he finds disturbingly attractive to help get her teenage son away from a commune, a request that becomes much more delicate when a murder occurs. Runcie is also adept at crafting mysteries without a corpse, as in the theft of a valuable necklace that coincides with a cattle stampede. In one lapse into Jessica Fletcher syndrome, Sidney's visit to Germany, his wife's homeland, lands him in the midst of a homicide investigation. The series' strength lies less in the author's devising and resolving baffling whodunits than in his portrayal of his all-too-human lead. Agent: David Godwin, David Godwin Associates (U.K.). (June) [Page ]. Copyright 2016 PWxyz LLC

Review by Publisher Summary 1

Embarking on a 1969 summer against a backdrop of the moon landing and the race-driven cricket matches in apartheid South Africa, Sidney Chambers flexes his sleuthing skills to help multiple clients, including a youth in a hippie commune, a student who is divested of a family heirloom and his former curate, who has been tied to an arson attack. TV tie-in.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

Collects six new stories featuring the priest and part-time detective Sidney Chambers, in which he helps a youth in a hippie commune, a student who is divested of a family heirloom, and his former curate, who has been tied to an arson attack.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

The fifth installment in The Grantchester Mystery Series, and the inspiration for the primetime PBS/Masterpiece television series, Grantchester.It’s the summer of love in late 1960s. The Apollo 11 astronauts are preparing to land on the moon, the war in Biafra dominates the news and Basil D’Oliveira has just been dropped from the England cricket team before a test series in apartheid South Africa. In the midst of all this change, Sidney Chambers, the loveable English clergyman, continues his amateur sleuthing investigations.A bewitching divorcée enlists Sidney’s help in convincing her son to leave a hippie commune’ at a soiree on Grantchester Meadows during May Week celebrations, a student is divested of a family heirloom; Amanda’s marriage runs into trouble; Sidney and Hildegard holiday behind the Iron Curtain; Mrs. Maguire’s husband returns from the dead; and an arson attack in Cambridge leads Sidney to uncover a cruel cast of blackmail involving his former curate.In the rare gaps between church and crime, Sidney struggles with a persistent case of toothache, has his first flutter at the Newmarket races, and witnesses the creation of a classic rock song.Charming, witty, intelligent, and filled with a strong sense of compassion, these six new stories are guaranteed to satisfy and delight this clerical detective’s many fans.

Review by Publisher Summary 4

The eagerly anticipated fifth installment in the Grantchester Mysteries series, now a major TV series.