Discussion:
Sidney Chambes and the Shadow of Death by James Runcie
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Carol Dickinson
2017-06-23 19:18:00 UTC
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About a month or so back we were discussing some of the mystery programs on TV and we brushed past the British series The Granchester Mysteries which is on PBS.

I stumbled over this book which is book 1 of several, the basis for the series, So I picked it up, because I remember saying it was on again, and I started on episode 3 again, and wondered if there ever was an episode 1 or 2. There were some things that came from Sidney's past that I thought might be explained in the book. Sort yes and sort of no.

It does talk just a bit about his service in WWII and the boy he killed that was referenced someplace in the series. All the characters of the series are introduced in the book, but none of the plots.

I found it interesting on several levels though. I did not know although it is a "historical" set in the 1950's that it had only been written 5 years ago.
How did I get so old that historicals can be set in my own lifetime? So it must have immediately gone into production for TV. And as there are now 6 books he is publishing one about every 6 months. Nice to find a new author that produces them so fast.

I stopped reading most British mysteries years ago because as time has passed the British culture has gone such a different direction from American culture, and the languages have diverged enough that nowdays I'm lost half the time just trying to understand what the author meant. I had no trouble with that in this one though. The references to the hierarchy of the Anglican church, the British university system, the tax laws and brand names of various products did not get in the way.

I did have to look up several words because the vocabulary was rich, but learning a new word here and there is good.

It was also written not as "a" mystery, but a series of small mysteries that took up a few chapters that moved through the course of several months. So Sydney doesn't leap into being an amateur detective so much as repeatedly gets
drawn farther and farther in as his officer friend Geordie, his friend Amanda and a parishioner or two drag him farther into the role. He does struggle with spending more time sleuthing than performing his clerical duties, and we spend some time in his head pondering various things so we know what he's thinking as he sleuths. I found that refreshing.

There weren't a lot of clues for the reader to solve the mysteries. But the author did always tell you the moment the solution popped up so he played fair
in letting the reader solve it. While most were murders, there was also a couple of robberies and and a kidnapping.

It fits under the cozy label although it does not follow all the genre "musts". There is no angst between Sydney and Amanda who is only a friend and not a girlfriend so far. There is no friction between him and his officer friend Geordie who has been his friend long before Sydney starts sleuthing and he does so at the request of the officer not in spite of it. It also had a softer ambience than the series.

I think I will make it a point to read the rest of the series. I may still trip over some of the series plots in the later books but even if I know the answers from the series, I expect the time spent with this author will be enjoyable.
Howard Duck
2017-06-24 04:17:49 UTC
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On Fri, 23 Jun 2017 12:18:00 -0700 (PDT), Carol Dickinson
Post by Carol Dickinson
About a month or so back we were discussing some of the mystery programs on TV and we brushed past the British series The Granchester Mysteries which is on PBS.
I stumbled over this book which is book 1 of several, the basis for the series, So I picked it up, because I remember saying it was on again, and I started on episode 3 again, and wondered if there ever was an episode 1 or 2. There were some things that came from Sidney's past that I thought might be explained in the book. Sort yes and sort of no.
It does talk just a bit about his service in WWII and the boy he killed that was referenced someplace in the series. All the characters of the series are introduced in the book, but none of the plots.
I found it interesting on several levels though. I did not know although it is a "historical" set in the 1950's that it had only been written 5 years ago.
How did I get so old that historicals can be set in my own lifetime? So it must have immediately gone into production for TV. And as there are now 6 books he is publishing one about every 6 months. Nice to find a new author that produces them so fast.
I stopped reading most British mysteries years ago because as time has passed the British culture has gone such a different direction from American culture, and the languages have diverged enough that nowdays I'm lost half the time just trying to understand what the author meant. I had no trouble with that in this one though. The references to the hierarchy of the Anglican church, the British university system, the tax laws and brand names of various products did not get in the way.
I did have to look up several words because the vocabulary was rich, but learning a new word here and there is good.
It was also written not as "a" mystery, but a series of small mysteries that took up a few chapters that moved through the course of several months. So Sydney doesn't leap into being an amateur detective so much as repeatedly gets
drawn farther and farther in as his officer friend Geordie, his friend Amanda and a parishioner or two drag him farther into the role. He does struggle with spending more time sleuthing than performing his clerical duties, and we spend some time in his head pondering various things so we know what he's thinking as he sleuths. I found that refreshing.
There weren't a lot of clues for the reader to solve the mysteries. But the author did always tell you the moment the solution popped up so he played fair
in letting the reader solve it. While most were murders, there was also a couple of robberies and and a kidnapping.
It fits under the cozy label although it does not follow all the genre "musts". There is no angst between Sydney and Amanda who is only a friend and not a girlfriend so far. There is no friction between him and his officer friend Geordie who has been his friend long before Sydney starts sleuthing and he does so at the request of the officer not in spite of it. It also had a softer ambience than the series.
I think I will make it a point to read the rest of the series. I may still trip over some of the series plots in the later books but even if I know the answers from the series, I expect the time spent with this author will be enjoyable.
We watched as many of the Grantchester Mysteries as were available on
one of our subscription channels on Roku. I think Sydney and Geordie
did run into a difficult patch or two as I recall. Geordie wanted to
condemn certain ones where Sydney wanted compassion and understanding,
or something like that. Sydney won't consider a romance with Amanda
because she is not cut out to be a parish minister's wife, or so he
says.

We loved the British mysteries in the days of Morse, et al, and
Lyndley, and Foyle, and Frost, and Dalgliesh, etc., but not the police
procedurals of late.

Howard
Francis A. Miniter
2017-06-25 00:29:28 UTC
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Post by Howard Duck
On Fri, 23 Jun 2017 12:18:00 -0700 (PDT), Carol Dickinson
Post by Carol Dickinson
About a month or so back we were discussing some of the mystery programs on TV and we brushed past the British series The Granchester Mysteries which is on PBS.
I stumbled over this book which is book 1 of several, the basis for the series, So I picked it up, because I remember saying it was on again, and I started on episode 3 again, and wondered if there ever was an episode 1 or 2. There were some things that came from Sidney's past that I thought might be explained in the book. Sort yes and sort of no.
It does talk just a bit about his service in WWII and the boy he killed that was referenced someplace in the series. All the characters of the series are introduced in the book, but none of the plots.
I found it interesting on several levels though. I did not know although it is a "historical" set in the 1950's that it had only been written 5 years ago.
How did I get so old that historicals can be set in my own lifetime? So it must have immediately gone into production for TV. And as there are now 6 books he is publishing one about every 6 months. Nice to find a new author that produces them so fast.
I stopped reading most British mysteries years ago because as time has passed the British culture has gone such a different direction from American culture, and the languages have diverged enough that nowdays I'm lost half the time just trying to understand what the author meant. I had no trouble with that in this one though. The references to the hierarchy of the Anglican church, the British university system, the tax laws and brand names of various products did not get in the way.
I did have to look up several words because the vocabulary was rich, but learning a new word here and there is good.
It was also written not as "a" mystery, but a series of small mysteries that took up a few chapters that moved through the course of several months. So Sydney doesn't leap into being an amateur detective so much as repeatedly gets
drawn farther and farther in as his officer friend Geordie, his friend Amanda and a parishioner or two drag him farther into the role. He does struggle with spending more time sleuthing than performing his clerical duties, and we spend some time in his head pondering various things so we know what he's thinking as he sleuths. I found that refreshing.
There weren't a lot of clues for the reader to solve the mysteries. But the author did always tell you the moment the solution popped up so he played fair
in letting the reader solve it. While most were murders, there was also a couple of robberies and and a kidnapping.
It fits under the cozy label although it does not follow all the genre "musts". There is no angst between Sydney and Amanda who is only a friend and not a girlfriend so far. There is no friction between him and his officer friend Geordie who has been his friend long before Sydney starts sleuthing and he does so at the request of the officer not in spite of it. It also had a softer ambience than the series.
I think I will make it a point to read the rest of the series. I may still trip over some of the series plots in the later books but even if I know the answers from the series, I expect the time spent with this author will be enjoyable.
We watched as many of the Grantchester Mysteries as were available on
one of our subscription channels on Roku. I think Sydney and Geordie
did run into a difficult patch or two as I recall. Geordie wanted to
condemn certain ones where Sydney wanted compassion and understanding,
or something like that. Sydney won't consider a romance with Amanda
because she is not cut out to be a parish minister's wife, or so he
says.
We loved the British mysteries in the days of Morse, et al, and
Lyndley, and Foyle, and Frost, and Dalgliesh, etc., but not the police
procedurals of late.
Howard
We have just started to see the third season here. Domestic
complications prevail. The woman he loves has divorced her husband, but
is pregnant with his (her ex-husband's) child. Sidney has to figure out
what to do. Not easy in rural 1950s England.


Francis A. Miniter
Howard Duck
2017-06-25 03:04:09 UTC
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On Sat, 24 Jun 2017 20:29:28 -0400, "Francis A. Miniter"
Post by Francis A. Miniter
Post by Howard Duck
We watched as many of the Grantchester Mysteries as were available on
one of our subscription channels on Roku. I think Sydney and Geordie
did run into a difficult patch or two as I recall. Geordie wanted to
condemn certain ones where Sydney wanted compassion and understanding,
or something like that. Sydney won't consider a romance with Amanda
because she is not cut out to be a parish minister's wife, or so he
says.
We loved the British mysteries in the days of Morse, et al, and
Lyndley, and Foyle, and Frost, and Dalgliesh, etc., but not the police
procedurals of late.
Howard
We have just started to see the third season here. Domestic
complications prevail. The woman he loves has divorced her husband, but
is pregnant with his (her ex-husband's) child. Sidney has to figure out
what to do. Not easy in rural 1950s England.
Francis A. Miniter
Can't remember if we've seen that season or not.

Howard
Howard Duck
2017-06-25 07:56:12 UTC
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Post by Howard Duck
Post by Francis A. Miniter
We have just started to see the third season here. Domestic
complications prevail. The woman he loves has divorced her husband, but
is pregnant with his (her ex-husband's) child. Sidney has to figure out
what to do. Not easy in rural 1950s England.
Francis A. Miniter
Can't remember if we've seen that season or not.
Howard
Oh yes. I do recall now that Amanda married and had a child. Also,
Sydney kept interjecting himself like an older brother until Amanda's
husband laid Sydney out.

Howard
Carol Dickinson
2017-06-25 17:27:34 UTC
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Post by Francis A. Miniter
We have just started to see the third season here. Domestic
complications prevail. The woman he loves has divorced her husband, but
is pregnant with his (her ex-husband's) child. Sidney has to figure out
what to do. Not easy in rural 1950s England.
Francis A. Miniter
I hate 2 parters. So I didn't watch the episode last week. I saved it for today.
My honorary granddaughter is getting married this afternoon so that will wear me out. When I get home I will watch both episodes.

Carol
Francis A. Miniter
2017-06-25 21:52:52 UTC
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Post by Carol Dickinson
Post by Francis A. Miniter
We have just started to see the third season here. Domestic
complications prevail. The woman he loves has divorced her husband, but
is pregnant with his (her ex-husband's) child. Sidney has to figure out
what to do. Not easy in rural 1950s England.
Francis A. Miniter
I hate 2 parters. So I didn't watch the episode last week. I saved it for today.
My honorary granddaughter is getting married this afternoon so that will wear me out. When I get home I will watch both episodes.
Carol
I tend to do the same.


Francis A. Miniter

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