Sidney Chambers and the Forgiveness of Sins

Written by James Runcie
Review by Mary F. Burns

This is a collection of six short stories, closely adjacent in time, which is the fourth installment in the Grantchester Mysteries, starring the Very Reverend Canon Sidney Chambers. It’s the 1960s, and the war years are drifting into the background, although even lively Cambridge still feels the shadow of memories that refuse to go away entirely. For readers who have watched the Grantchester Mysteries on PBS, this set of stories jumps several years past those first episodes, but Sidney is still caught up in solving murders, and Inspector Geordie Keating is still his exasperated, skeptical companion-in-mystery. Sidney’s married now (I won’t say to whom!) and struggles to balance family life, church duties, and (always more interesting) murder investigations. Each story is a different case, but the domestic events and small homey crises go on throughout, bringing a welcome and comforting continuity to the whole book. Thoroughly enjoyable, an updated cozy village with just a bit more sex and violence than we saw in Miss Marple’s St. Mary Mead.