cover image Sidney Chambers and the Persistence of Love

Sidney Chambers and the Persistence of Love

James Runcie. Bloomsbury, $27 (368p) ISBN 978-1-63286-794-0

Runcie’s Grantchester Mysteries series, which opened in the 1950s, has reached the ’70s in the superior sixth entry (after 2016’s Sidney Chambers and the Dangers of Temptation). Sidney is now an archdeacon, and his daughter, Anna, is an inquisitive seven-year-old. On a quiet forest walk with Anna in the first of the book’s six sections, he stumbles on a corpse of a man who was collecting poisonous plants. Other sections involve the theft of a rare religious book and a possible fraud with respect to a painting alleged to have been created by Goya. As usual, Runcie doesn’t shy away from involving his lead in uncomfortable cases, such as one centered on acquaintance rape. Fans of the earlier volumes and the successful TV adaptations will relish the latest chapters in the lives of a richly drawn and diverse cast of characters—and shed some tears along the way. The explorations of human relationships, especially that of Sidney and his wife, Hildegard, are sophisticated and insightful. Agent: David Godwin, David Godwin Associates (U.K.). (May)