Skip to main content

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


Popular posts from this blog

Broken by Karin Slaughter

Before I begin the formal review there are a few things I need to get off my chest in the wake of finishing this book; I'll do so without giving away too many (or any) spoilers.
The OUTRAGE!: the identity of Detective Lena Adams' new beau; the low depths to which Grant County's interim chief has sunk and brought the police force down with him; agent Will Trent's wife, Angie's, sixth sense/nasty habit of reappearing in his life just when he's slipping away from her. Thank God for small miracles though because while Angie was certainly referred to during the book, the broad didn't make an appearance. One sign that I've become way too invested in these characters is that I'd like to employ John Connolly's odd pair of assassins, Louis and Angel, to contract out a hit on Angie; do you think Karin Slaughter and John Connolly could work out a special cross over?
Hallelujah: Dr. Sara Linton and agent Will Trent are both back. There is no hallelujah for…

Crow Lake by Mary Lawson

When the end came, it seemed to do so completely out of the blue, and it wasn't until long afterward that I was able to see that there was a chain of events leading up to it. Some of those events had nothing to do with us, the Morrisons, but were solely the concern of the Pyes, who lived on a farm about a mile away and were our nearest neighbors." from page seven
I must confess that it took me longer than it really needed to in order to finish the novel Crow Lake by Mary Lawson. The entire story is building up to the big catastrophe that forever destroys all the hopes and dreams the Morrison clan ever dared to hope and dream for its future. In the eyes of the narrator, it is even worse than the tragedy of the car crash that claimed both parents' lives one evening on the heels of some good news the family has received and celebrated. Now you can see why I dreaded getting to the end of a book that drips in foreboding like nobody's business. What can be a worse tra…

In The Woods by Tana French

"What I warn you to remember is that I am a detective. Our relationship with the truth is fundamental, but cracked, refracting confusingly like fragmented glass. It is the core of our careers, the endgame of every move we make, and we pursue it with strategies painstakingly constructed of lies ... and every variation on deception. The truth is the most desirable woman in the world and we are the most jealous lovers, reflexively denying anyone else the slightest glimpse of her. We betray her routinely ... This is my job ... What I am telling you, before you begin my story, is this--two things: I crave truth. And I lie." opening lines of In The Woods chapter 1, pages 3-4
In The Woods by Tana French, an Irish writer, is an extremely well-written and well-crafted mystery novel. The downside is that this is French's debut novel, and her website (located at does not offer any insi…