I just purchased season 1 of the British television series Grantchester on Amazon instant video. My husband and I watched the first episode last night and I think I am hooked. I admit the boyishly handsome James Norton playing the part of the main character, Sidney Chambers might just have something to do with that. Maybe. Just a little.
According to the Masterpiece page of the PBS website “Grantchester is based on the acclaimed novel Sidney Chambers and the Shadow of Death by James Runcie, which was called “the coziest of cozy murder mysteries” by the New York Times Book Review. Runcie styled Sidney after his late father, Lord Runcie, who was Archbishop of Canterbury in the 1980s. Like Sidney, the elder Runcie was a war hero before he entered the ministry, and he was a compassionate and amiable parish priest. Unfortunately, he never took up crime-solving. Grantchester corrects that oversight.”
In the first episode, Sidney Chambers is the only clergyman that will take on the job of officiating over the funeral of a man who apparently committed suicide. His message during the service is one of compassion, not condemnation and that leads the wife of the dead man’s law partner to confide in Sidney that she believes his death was the result of murder, not suicide.
Sidney goes to the police with this information and is quickly shown the door by inspector Geordy Keating, played by Robson Green. So that is that. Except Sidney cannot help noticing little details that don’t fit. No spoilers here. I’ll just say that a tentative relationship is formed between Sidney and Geordy by the end of the episode.
I first heard of this series as one that fans of G. M. Malliet’s Father Max might enjoy and I found that recommendation to be reliable. I’m putting the first book Sidney Chambers and the Shadow of Death on my reading list and I can’t wait to see the next episode of Granchester.