Cover image for Sidney Chambers and the perils of the night
Sidney Chambers and the perils of the night
Runcie, James, 1959-
Personal Author:
First U.S. edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Bloomsbury USA, 2013.
Physical Description:
356 pages ; 21 cm.
The second in a series of six detective novels set against the backdrop of 30 years of British history, featuring an unforgettable and unlikely new hero, Sidney Chambers.

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
FICTION Adult Fiction Mystery/Suspense
FICTION Adult Fiction Popular Materials-Mystery
FICTION Adult Fiction Mystery/Suspense
FICTION Adult Fiction Mystery/Suspense
FICTION Adult Fiction Mystery/Suspense

On Order



The second book in The Grantchester Mystery Series, and the inspiration for t he primetime PBS/Masterpiece television series, Grantchester .

The loveable full time priest and part time detective Canon Sidney Chambers continues his sleuthing adventures in late 1950's Cambridge.

Accompanied by his faithful Labrador Dickens, and working in tandem with the increasingly exasperated Inspector Geordie Keating, Sidney is called on to investigate the unexpected fall of a Cambridge don from the roof of King's College Chapel; a case of arson at a glamor photographer's studio; and the poisoning of Zafar Ali, Grantchester's finest spin bowler, in the middle of a crucial game of cricket. As he pursues his quietly probing inquiries, Sidney also has to decide on the vexed question of marriage. Can he choose between the rich, glamorous socialite Amanda Kendall and Hildegard Staunton, a beguiling German widow three years his junior? To help him make up his mind Sidney takes a trip abroad, only to find himself trapped in a complex web of international espionage just as the Berlin Wall is going up.

Here are six interlocking adventures that combine mystery with morality, and criminality with charm.

Author Notes

James Runcie is the son of the Arhcbishop of Canterbury, as well as Director of the Bath Literary Festival and author of four novels, The Discovery of Chocolate, The Colour of Heaven, Canvey Island and East Fortune . He is also an award-winning film-maker and theatre director and has scripted several films for BBC Television. He directed a documentary following a year in the life of J.K. Rowling. James Runcie lives in Edinburgh with his wife and two daughters.

His website is

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

Runcie's richly atmospheric second collection of Grantchester mysteries improves on its predecessor, 2012's Sidney Chambers and the Shadow of Death. Over six stories, Sidney Chambers, an Anglican minister, wrestles with his impulse to solve crimes rather than tend to the aspects of his religious duties that he finds less engaging. In the especially fine title tale, Chambers witnesses three college fellows attempt a dangerous prank by climbing an octagonal turret. One man falls to his death, one vanishes without trace, and the third is left badly shaken. In other episodes, a building rented to a photographer burns down, a bursar is found dead in his bath, and food poisoning claims the life of an Indian cricketer. Runcie's intimate view of post-WWII English society will appeal to admirers of Barbara Pym. His clerical sleuth would be welcome in a novel-length puzzle one day. Agent: David Godwin, David Godwin Associates (U.K.). (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Library Journal Review

Canon Sidney Chambers lives in the Cambridge-adjacent village of Grantchester but manages to visit Berlin on a regular basis, thanks to his friendship with the widow Hildegard. Though devoted to his ministry, Sidney loves to sleuth, and his chum, Insp. Geordie Keating, appreciates his insights. The result here is six interlinked stories, each providing a snapshot of midcentury Britain. One case, set on the Cambridge campus, involves a spying ring. Another begins with an arson fire that exposes several secrets. An academic rivalry turns deadly one spring, while racism rears its head at a cricket match later that year. The book culminates in a daring Berlin escape. Meanwhile, Sidney's love for Hildegard grows at a glacial rate. VERDICT Runcie's screenwriting background shows in his second series entry (after Sidney Chambers and the Shadow of Death), which reads like a BBC series. While the stretch from 1955 to 1961 makes the final two stories seem tacked on, it successfully captures Cold War sensibilities. This old-fashioned historical moves at a methodical pace, dense with long theological dialogs. Pair with Bernard Knight's Dr. Richard Pryor series. (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.