PERILS OF NIGHTcircleofshadows











The Perils of the Night

James Runcie has put a sometimes-reluctant pastor, often-accidental detective Canon Sidney Chambers in 1950s Cambridge.  Chambers is a townie, one of the few outsiders tolerated by the establishment.  When a thrill-seeker falls to his death while scaling a cathedral tower, it is Chambers who navigates the dangerous waters of the autonomous college.

I was somewhat thrown off as I did not realize that the book is really several stories loosely tied together (rather than a novel).  So, potential readers, take note.

The character of Chambers is a bit thin (and occasionally whiny), even when Runcie tries to give him depth.  Unlike Father Brown, Chambers is a Protestant minister and can marry.  A good deal of Chambers’ inner dialogue is given to ruminations on love and marriage, when it’s not focused on his ideas of faith.

Perhaps, Sidney wondered, he had to divest himself of all his worldly concerns if he was to become a better priest.  He should give up all pretence at being a detective.  He should leave behind all perceptions of the senses, and reasonings of the intellect, and enter that cloud of unknowing, that darkness which would, eventually, be illuminated by flashes of light.  This was a paradox f faith, the embracing of darkness in order to find light.   ~ Pg. 59

This is the second of the Granchester Mysteries Series.  Many thanks to Bloomsbury for the review copy.

Published: 09 May 2013    Format: Hardback   Edition: 1st   Length: 368  ISBN: 9781408828106   Imprint: Bloomsbury Publishing   Series: The Grantchester Mysteries   Dimensions: 216 x 135 mm

Circle of Shadows

This is the fourth in the Westerman/Crowther series by Imogen Robertson.  In the past, Harriet Westerman has teamed up with forensic investigator Gabriel Crowther to solve local mysteries in Georgian England.   In this book, the redoubtable pair heads to the Continent to solve a crime that has hit close to home.  Harriet’s brother-in-law Daniel has awakened from a night of revelry, covered in someone else’s blood.  The Duke of Maulberg has arrested him, but it will be up to Harriet and Gabriel to exonerate him — that is, if he is actually innocent.

I’ve not read any of the earlier books, which I think would have helped me jump right into this one.  This installment appears to pick up with known characters and relationships.  While its isn’t crucial to have read any of the previous books, I do think it would have made this one more enjoyable.

A century of chalk dust rather than incense, the silted spirits of many years of intense intellectual strain than devoted prayer, but the old lecture hall did have the atmosphere of a cathedral, the reverential attention of the congregation listening while a single voice unfolded mysteries in Latin — though these mysteries were mathematical rather than metaphysical.  It was usually silent, so when someone yawned very loudly then returned to gnawing the last flesh off his apple core, the sound echoed out like someone singling bawdy ballads at Communion.  ~Pg. 35

Thanks to Pamela Dorman Books for the review copy.

ISBN 9780670026289  384 pages  13 Jun 2013  Pamela Dorman Books  6.37 x 9.29in  18 – AND UP

2 thoughts on “REVIEW: TWO UNLIKELY DETECTIVES – Sidney Chambers and Harriet Westerman”

  1. Nice review! I always find it difficult starting a series somewhere in the middle and not at the beginning. I know some folks say that for some series each book stands well enough alone but I think it always helps to start from the beginning. I’m in the mood for some good mysteries and have been wanting to trying another Charlie Chan novel!

    1. I think there was just some things that were unexplored in this book because it already had been in previous books. I guess I felt like I was joining a party late and it just felt awkward.

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