Sidney Chambers and the Problem of Evil (Grantchester #3)
by James Runcie
Bloomsbury USA, 2014. 287 pages. Mystery.
It's the 1960s and Sidney Chambers has never been happier, with a new wife and new responsibilities in the community. But, even so, he still finds himself thrown in the way of mysterious happenings in the cathedral city of Grantchester. From the mysteriously nude French girl who appears just in time to distract gallery goers from an art theft in broad daylight to an odd drowning on a movie set, between a tragic baby stealing from the local hospital and a madman who seems to have it in for the clergy, Sidney manages to plumb the depths of the human mind to find answers.
I love where Runcie has taken this series and the depth of character that Canon Chambers has gained as his life has grown and evolved through the series. And I think that one thing, above all, that I like is the passage of time. Most mystery series take place over exceptionally short periods, often making one small town look like a hotbed of crime. Runcie, however, has spread these three books over the course of 10 years, which seems more in keeping with realistic crime statistics and doesn't make the reader wonder how Sidney can do so much investigating and still keep his day job. It also allows the author to show a greater range of evolution for his characters, as they grow through mundane experiences. Even though this book deals with a lot of tragic crime, it just made me happy to read it.