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Sidney Chambers and the Problem of Evil by James Runcie

Sidney Chambers and the Problem of Evil is the third installment in the Grantchester Mysteries series.  I reviewed the first two books of the series on the blog here and here.  This installment brings some major life changes as Sidney and his new wife Hildegard enjoy their first year of marriage.

In the first mystery Sidney contemplates the problem of evil in the form of a serial killer targeting clergy.  Each killing is preceded by an avian warning, and the ever irritating, intrepid reporter Helen Randall returns and, troublingly, entices Inspector Keating.  In another mystery Sidney is a material witness to the theft of a painting from a Cambridge gallery in which a nude woman singing a French tune creates a diversion.

In a later mystery Sidney is reluctantly roped in to portraying a priest in a local film production when he witnesses an accidental drowning.  However, something about the whole incident does not sit right with Sidney (of course) and after some inquiries, he discovers the near perfect murder.  In the final mystery as Sidney awaits the birth of his first child, his help is enlisted in locating the stolen premature newborn of a parishioner.

Some Random Thoughts (I always have some)

Sidney is right frustrated when suspected criminal perpetrators lie to him upon being questioned [OMG HOW DARE CRIMINALS LIE]; this strikes me as naive for Canon Chambers.  I mean the man's been investigating all manner of crimes in little Grantchester for how many years now--he is by now the definition of skepticism whenever anything even remotely suspicious happens in his vicinity.

It's rich that Amanda excoriates Sidney for expecting her to 'drop everything' to meet him for tea.  Didn't she expect him to hop a train on a moment's notice to meet her for lunch in London so she could share some mundane news with him at some point during the first book?  (Yes, I have a long memory.)

That Redmond family of Grantchester has some bad luck; they've produced two murderers and then the new grandbaby gets infant-napped.  At least the latter story has a happy ending (spoiler alert!).

Also I hear that in a later installment Sidney gets a new curate who irritates him with his efforts to ingratiate himself with the parishioners, and I have a feeling that the man will irritate me too because NO ONE REPLACES SIDNEY CHAMBERS.

--Reviewed by Ms. Angie

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