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Summary

It is the 1960s and Canon Sidney Chambers is enjoying his first year of married life with his German bride Hildegard. But life in Grantchester rarely stays quiet for long. Our favourite clerical detective soon attempts to stop a serial killer who has a grievance against the clergy; investigates the disappearance of a famous painting; uncovers the fact that an "accidental" drowning on a film shoot may not have been so accidental after all; and discovers the reasons behind the theft of a baby from a hospital. In the meantime, Sidney wrestles with the problem of evil, attempts to fulfill the demands of Dickens, his faithful Labrador, and contemplates, as always, the nature of love.

©2014 James Runcie (P)2014 Isis Publishing Ltd

What members say

Average customer ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Mike
  • Southampton, United Kingdom
  • 10-11-14

The Best of mthe Three books - excellent

What did you like most about Sidney Chambers and the Problem of Evil?

THis book moved up a significant step, the four stories seemed to be well thought throgh and the characters well developed.

Who was your favorite character and why?

I am amused by the detective who seems unable to solve any crime.

Have you listened to any of Peter Wickham’s other performances? How does this one compare?

He is cleasr and consistent. His voice,matches the setting well.

If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

If the police can't solve it - call the vicar!

Any additional comments?

I felt this set of short stories could be devel;oped into a Frost or Morse type TV series.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

I like the series but Leonard is so badly narrated

Any additional comments?

I like the series very much. But one thing really annoyed me about the narrator. At first Leonard is narrated in a fairly low voice which changes into a higher voice. If it is not by accident but on purpose then this is really embarrassing, to make it clear to the dumbest listener that he is gay. Quite crude! Also the narrator's pronunciation of German words is really bad. It is understandable when Sidney is talking German, but not when Hildegard is talking.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Much better than the TV series

Up till now, I've enjoyed the Granchester series on the TV but n
ow I know the books, I can't imagine why the show's producer saw fitr to change so much. The books are so much better.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Very good

Although I could guess who the bad guy/girl was on each episode it was worth listening to because of how James runcie writes so beautifully and is so well read by peter wickham

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

more short stories.

Any additional comments?

as with the previous two books this starts with a murder and goes onto other crimes finishing at Christmas in 1961.
enjoyable as a change from long single story crime books.

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Oh Dear! A Narrator for me to avoid

Any additional comments?

I loved the TV series, so thought I would enjoy this audio tape. To be honest, I have tried for 5 days to listen to it and the furthest I have got to is the 30 minute mark. The story seems to be pretty good, but the narrator is the worst one I have heard in years and years of listening. He is ok and pretty acceptable with men's voices, but his women's voices make me want to scream. Does he think women sound like that?!?! My apologies to the Narrator, but when you do a woman's voice, it is like finger nails on a blackboard to me. I have tried and tried, but have given up. I will go and buy the book!

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

A lifeless thing.

Would you try another book written by James Runcie or narrated by Peter Wickham?

No.

Has Sidney Chambers and the Problem of Evil put you off other books in this genre?

I'm not sure what genre this is. The stories made me think of the kind of filler stories you might come across in a back copy of a woman's magazine from the 70s. Or a sermon …. curiously empty of any significance or even any serious attempt to entertain, an exercise.

Would you listen to another book narrated by Peter Wickham?

Maybe. There was nothing either very good or very bad about his performance. He didn't have much to work with.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

Sadness is about right.

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Sara
  • 26-08-17

The PBS TV Show VS The Series Of Books Dilemma

I made the mistake of watching and loving the PBS Grantchester program before reading Runcie's wonderful series of mystery books. When I finally listened to book one I was startled by the difference between the two versions. I decided back when I wrote my review of that book that I preferred the TV show vibe over the book. In hindsight I admit that this was precipitous.

After watching the most recent TV season I decided to give the books a second chance. I'm glad that I did. It turns out that I really enjoy both Runcie's books and the adaptation of the TV program. It is best to keep in mind that the versions are just so different. It's kind of like a parallel universe. In fact, for example, I watched the story of the Hat Trick and then read the same story and in the end I preferred the version from the book better.

Book two and this book, number three in the series, are wonderful in how they capture the passage of time. Runcie fills the stories with current events as we move through post WWII England and into the Cold War and the construction of the Berlin Wall. We even see the 1962 London art scene with A Happening.

Overall I enjoy Wickham's narration. Yes, I agree that Sidney's voice is too high and that the women often sound like nit-wits. But, in the end I think Wickham's style really captures the feeling of the time.

So it turns out that I am a fan of Grantchester in both its worlds--the books and the TV series. The stories are fun, multidimensional and engaging. Recommended if you enjoy mysteries with a strong sense of time, place and history.

17 of 21 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • L. Maranto
  • 29-03-15

Wonderful stories

Canon Chambers should join the ranks of classic British detectives in the tradition of Father Brown and Lord Peter Wimsey. His personality is perhaps closer to Lord Peter. You do not have to be a member of the Anglican Church to appreciate his kind and tolerant but still dedicated approach to religion and to life.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • E. Seaton
  • 18-04-15

Unmissable

A perfect narration of an excellent series of stories. The voices of each character are so well portrayed they are believable as people.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Chris T
  • 09-07-16

A Different Grantchester

I enjoy the BBC series Grantchester but it has taken a vast turn from the original stories. I prefer the Sidney Chambers from the books. He remains a man of integrity throughout these three novels which is fitting for his position.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Emily
  • 15-08-14

Sidney Chambers is back! Hallelujah!

Our favourite Cambridge Canon is back! Canon Sidney Chambers, that lover of warm beer and hot jazz, returns once more in the third title in the Grantchester Mysteries series. In this series of short mysteries, Sidney tackles the changes to his life following his marriage, as well as being called to help solve several mysteries, including thefts and murders, all while keeping up to his tasks as an Anglican clergyman in the early 1960s.

These wonderful books are a combination of crime fiction and theological musings, which make very thought provoking novels. Fans of era-specific detective fiction will approve and enjoy, as well as those who like to contemplate the meaning of life, good and evil, right and wrong, and the link between religion and morality. James Runcie's work in combining these two genres is remarkable, and very enjoyable.

So, settle in with your favourite tipple and get listening!

3 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Sarah
  • 10-07-17

Lovely

I would recommend not waiting 2 years between books 2 and 3! Evenso, I caught up quickly l.
The first two novels were fairly similar to the TV show, making them a bit boring at times. However, that did not happen here! Crimes may have even looked the same at first glance, but certainly weren't!
Onward to book 4 for me!

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • James W.
  • 13-06-17

Gentle English mysteries with great characters

Where does Sidney Chambers and the Problem of Evil rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

The Sidney Chambers series are fairly unique amongst audiobooks that I listen to. I generally listen to mystery/thrillers or historical fiction with lots of action. This series is much more sedate than my usual fare. These are a nice break because I really enjoy the characterization.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Sidney Chambers because you really get to know him and I find him to be a very sympathetic and relatable character.

What does Peter Wickham bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Wickham's reading really helps set the atmosphere of the book. He does individual interpretations of the characters to flesh and hem out. He generally does a great job, except for Amanda Kendall who sounds a bit grating.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Not particularly, no.

Any additional comments?

I enjoy the Sidney Chambers novels far more than the television adaptations. The first television season had a similar flavor to the books, but thereafter they are quite different and distinct from each other.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Moonglotexas
  • 16-10-16

Ok but not as good as previous ones

Beautifully written as always but the mysteries weren't as good or as interesting as I've become accustomed to

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Darrin
  • 20-06-16

Sidney's charm is wearing thin ...

Of the three collections, this is my least favorite. The characters have lost their dimension and become rather cliché. The storylines are quite predictable. Peter Wickham's narration is also wearing thin... He does a fine job with men's voices. His women's voices are very stereotypical, to the point that I wish they had had a woman read those parts.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Corinne L
  • 03-06-16

Charming Stories

Well crafted stories that build on prior books, but narrator's attempt of female voices and German accent remain distracting.