Book review: ‘Sidney Chambers and the Shadow of Death’

Reading James Runcie’s Sidney Chambers and the Shadow of Death reminded me of three classical detectives of fiction – Sherlock Holmes, Inspector Morse, and Father Brown. In the nature of the short stories, which toy with the predominant format in similar stories of an unseen murder, investigation, and denouement, I felt some of Conan Doyle; in the setting of a rural and academic Cambridge, alongside the highly educated nature of the protagonist I felt definite echoes of Dexter; and in the ecclesiastical, gentle, and easygoing nature of the stories I felt reverberations from Chesterton. Runcie’s collection of six short(ish) stories was highly enjoyable, a nice armchair read with a good bit of character development – albeit requiring what Coleridge called a ‘willing suspension of disbelief’.

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