Sidney Chambers and the Perils of Night

Written by James Runcie
Review by Jane Kessler

This is the second in a series set in the late 1950s and early 1960s in Grantchester, England, featuring Canon Sidney Chambers. Kudos to Runcie for creating the charming Sidney, a clergyman who loves jazz, his Labrador Dickens, and a certain German widow. Sidney is a very likeable character, described by a friend as having an “openly vulnerable humanity.” A veteran of WWII, he is deeply insightful about people and their motivations. He puts one in mind of a younger, masculine Ms. Marple, solving mysteries by talking to people and using his knowledge of human nature.

In this installment, Sidney tackles an act of arson, two deaths at Cambridge University, and bigamy. He also makes a trip to Berlin at a very dangerous time. The period is perfectly evoked, with the Cold War featuring in some of the storylines. I was happy to learn that there are four more installments planned. I’ll be reading them all.