The second book in The Grantchester Mystery Series, and the inspiration for the primetime PBS/Masterpiece television series, Grantchester.
The loveable full time priest and part time detective Canon Sidney Chambers continues his sleuthing adventures in late 1950's Cambridge.
Accompanied by his faithful Labrador Dickens, and working in tandem with the increasingly exasperated Inspector Geordie Keating, Sidney is called on to investigate the unexpected fall of a Cambridge don from the roof of King's College Chapel; a case of arson at a glamor photographer's studio; and the poisoning of Zafar Ali, Grantchester's finest spin bowler, in the middle of a crucial game of cricket. As he pursues his quietly probing inquiries, Sidney also has to decide on the vexed question of marriage. Can he choose between the rich, glamorous socialite Amanda Kendall and Hildegard Staunton, a beguiling German widow three years his junior? To help him make up his mind Sidney takes a trip abroad, only to find himself trapped in a complex web of international espionage just as the Berlin Wall is going up.
Here are six interlocking adventures that combine mystery with morality, and criminality with charm.
Runcie s richly atmospheric second collection of Grantchester mysteries improves on its predecessor, 2012 s Sidney Chambers and the Shadow of Death. Over six stories, Sidney Chambers, an Anglican minister, wrestles with his impulse to solve crimes rather than tend to the aspects of his religious duties that he finds less engaging. In the especially fine title tale, Chambers witnesses three college fellows attempt a dangerous prank by climbing an octagonal turret. One man falls to his death, one vanishes without trace, and the third is left badly shaken. In other episodes, a building rented to a photographer burns down, a bursar is found dead in his bath, and food poisoning claims the life of an Indian cricketer. Runcie s intimate view of post-WWII English society will appeal to admirers of Barbara Pym. His clerical sleuth would be welcome in a novel-length puzzle one day.