Regular price: $19.49

Free with 30-day trial
Membership details Membership details
  • A 30-day trial plus your first audiobook, free
  • 1 credit/month after trial – good for any book, any price
  • Easy exchanges – swap any book you don’t love
  • Keep your audiobooks, even if you cancel
  • After your trial, Audible is just $14.95/month
OR
In Cart

Publisher's Summary

1955: Canon Sidney Chambers, loveable priest and part-time detective, is back. Accompanied by his faithful Labrador, Dickens, and the increasingly exasperated Inspector Geordie Keating, Sidney is called to investigate the unexpected fall of a Cambridge don from the roof of King's College Chapel; a case of arson at a glamour photographer's studio and the poisoning of Zafar Ali, Grantchester's finest spin bowler.

Alongside his sleuthing, Sidney has other problems. Can he decide between his dear friend the glamorous socialite Amanda Kendall and Hildegard Staunton, the beguiling German widow? To make up his mind Sidney takes a trip abroad, only to find himself trapped in a web of international espionage just as the Berlin Wall is going up.

©2013 James Runcie (P)2013 Isis Publishing Ltd

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.3 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    80
  • 4 Stars
    58
  • 3 Stars
    21
  • 2 Stars
    5
  • 1 Stars
    0

Performance

  • 4.2 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    77
  • 4 Stars
    41
  • 3 Stars
    21
  • 2 Stars
    6
  • 1 Stars
    3

Story

  • 4.3 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    75
  • 4 Stars
    47
  • 3 Stars
    17
  • 2 Stars
    6
  • 1 Stars
    0
Sort by:
  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Good writing, but weak mystery, and awful reader

This is a collection of six short stories, each of which stands on its own, though there are some connections between them, and some characters are present in each story. The protagonist is, of course, Sidney Chambers, a Church of England canon in Grantchester, a bucolic village close to Cambridge University. Sidney's sideline is criminal investigation, via his friendship with Cambridgeshire policeman Geordie Keating.

Sidney is a mild-mannered man, but there is some spice to his life. He has two women in his life: Amanda, his longtime close friend, and Hildegarde, the German widow who he met in the first volume in this series, when her husband was murdered. In this volume, the stories range from the murder of a Muslim grocer to a close shave for Sidney when he visits Hildegarde in Germany just as the Iron Curtain is ringing down.

Author James Runcie is the son of Robert Runcie, the Archbishop of Canterbury in the 1980s, so he comes by his interest in churchmen honestly. In the website about the Sidney Chambers series, he writes that he plans to have six novels in the series, beginning in 1953 and ending in 1978, writing about a period in which there were vast changes in English society.

Runcie's strong suit is his ability to evoke the feel of the village and the university in the 1950s, so soon after the war's end. The book should be a rewarding experience for those who reading for atmosphere and storytelling. The avid mystery reader may be less pleased, because the crimes tend to be solved in a burst of exposition. There isn't the seeding of clues that allows the careful reader to figure out the whodunnit.

Avoid the audiobook! The reader, Peter Wickham, is terrible at women's voices. In particular, he makes Amanda sound like a little old woman, when she's supposed to be a wealthy young society woman.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Watch the TV series instead

I watched, and loved, the British series Granchester on PBS. I can't wait for more. I had great hopes for the book but they weren't met. BBC has taken a mediocre book and created a wonderful TV show. This book is actually a set of short stories with continuity of the main characters and themes. Sidney Chambers is so different from the James Norton TV character, and I couldn't warm up to him. He is flat and unengaged. In his late 30s, Sidney is naive and a bit of an air head. In the final story of the book, he treats being arrested in East Germany like a couple days at camp.

In the book, Sidney is very involved with a college in Cambridge, which is more of the focus than the village of Granchester. Because the dons are involved, several of the stories relate to college politics and involve chemistry and physics. One story goes so much into detail about how cricket is played that the mystery gets lost in the game. As someone who is not familiar with the game of cricket, I had no idea what was going on for most of the story.

The narrator did a good job except for one of the female voices. Amanda's voice is grating and annoying.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Emily
  • Mount Macedon, Australia
  • 05-07-14

English mysteries featuring a clerical detective

Sidney Chambers, Canon in the Church of England, finds himself drawn into mysteries during his ministry to the people of Cambridge. These short stories are entertaining and amusing while also being solid mysteries which are not simply curiosities featuring a novelty sleuth in the figure of the investigating priest. Enjoy them, perhaps with tea, perhaps with a single malt, but Sidney wouldn't recommend a sherry ...

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Very entertaining & fun to compare w Grantchester.

I enjoy the BBC series Grantchester which is based on these books but the books show a slightly different Sidney which I prefer. Definitely worth listening to this audiobook version.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Love the TV Series

Enjoyable book – differs from the BBC television show, but still worth the listen! Don't much care for the reader, especially when he does falsetto women's voices. Oh well, we can't all sound like Ben Whishaw...

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Charming but lightweight.

The story about cricket was just... Wow, way too much cricket. No more cricket stories, for God's sake. Otherwise fine.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance

A wonderful jewel

i thoroughly enjoyed the adventures of Sidney Chambers and look forward to hearing many more.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Enough with rhe Cricket!

I have been enjoying this series very much, Similar but just different enough from the TV show to keep me interested, that is till the story about the murdered Cricket player, For the first time I found my self fast forwarding ALOT, the blow by blow accounting of the games are just too much.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Loved the story

It is avery enjoyable novel, full of suspense and intrigue. I did not care for the narrator.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Eh

The narrator does a good job on the main character's voice, but the women's voices, particularly Amanda, are terrible. I would have rather he just read the book aloud and let me figure out the speaker through context.

Sort by:
  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • BP1
  • 08-01-13

A Sunday afternoon book

What did you like most about Sidney Chambers and the Perils of the Night?

I like the characters, I enjoyed the overall plot arc, the very idealised view of country life and its a very easy read without being childish.

What other book might you compare Sidney Chambers and the Perils of the Night to, and why?

None, but its quite like Midsummer Murders, Morse and Father Brown TV shows for very obvious reasons though there is a bit more love interest than all three.

What does Peter Wickham bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

I think he is able to get across some of the gruff pomposity of some of the members of the University etc without detracting from other more reflective moments.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Not massively, though the ending was nice

Any additional comments?

My main criticism is that the author does spend a bit too much trying to make some of the people in the books seem important, clever, high achievers etc and it just feels a bit too much though I accept it puts the book in its historical concept. <br/>That said, I'd buy the next in the series, if one comes out. I like it, its not too taxing, is enjoyable, engaging and really just rather pleasant; like a cool beer on a sunny Sunday afternoon.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Mrs. K. I. Richards
  • 07-04-15

another six short stories.

Any additional comments?

I liked 5 out of the 6 stories that one being the one about cricket. I'm not a fan even though I have heard of colin cowdrey and Freddie Truman. all the others I enjoyed.

  • Overall
  • pops
  • 03-13-15

Brilliant

Great narrator great story, really enjoyed it, will purchase other in the series as tv show was good as well